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Does anyone here have any experience with g code translation programs

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alloy

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In August we are upgrading to okuma vmc's. One 3 axis, one 4 axis, and one 5 axis.

Currently we are running 3 fadals and have some code files that are 15 years old. They were programmed on old software we don't have any more and most of the CAD files are in AutoCAD. No solid models.

The okuma sales guy say no problem, use this program. https://www.kentechinc.com/cncxchange.html

We have a guy here that they tried it where he used to work. It didn't go well I'm told.

We have a 5000 hour backlog and I'm working about 55 hours a week. Soon to be 65 I'm told.


We just put one of my machines on 4th axis work only but there is no way I can get it all done before the new machines arrives.

So I'm hoping someone has some experience with this type of translation software and is willing to share their experience with it.
 

Bill MFG

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That's a task. IMO, I would attack this from another side. The work has to be done at the machines I know. But the fact is, the designs need to be updated also. Those old AUTOCAD files NEED to be made into 3d modles. If you have a vocational school or tech school around and they have machining or mechanical drafting program, give those kids some OJT. They'd be happy as a pig in crap to get paid to CAD/CAM. Assign them to a programmer, machinist, setup person and get it modeled and tool paths made. With the newer software's availible, this would be like killing 2 bits with 1 stone. If your going 5 axis and haven't already been here, your gonna have to go with some high speed low drag software any way. If you have software already, it will likely take modles from software like fusion360 and create toolpaths. Most of the kids in this field have fusion already, for free. If they just make the 3d models, you'll be way ahead. Programmer can get it to toolpath.
 

JimDawson

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Dan, I didn't catch this one when you posted. Did you get this resolved? I already have a G-code translator module in my software, wouldn't be hard to make it a stand alone for something like what you need.
 

alloy

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Jim,

They bought the software and we are testing it. Doesn't look promising at all. We were hoping that I could just pick a program and convert it without having to do anything else, but it isn't working like that. The new machines will be moved in next week along with upgrading the power for the entire shop. They are changing the breaker boxes to some heavy duty bolt in style breakers and replacing the aluminum wiring with copper.

They figure it will be at least two weeks before the machines are running. Then we get a week of training on them. We also paid $3000 for a new post processor for HSM works and it sucks. They are trying to fix it but when we try and run it on the simulator they left for us it immediately comes up with an error.

I've been working all week prepping the 3 fadals to be moved. I took extra special care of the one I'm getting. It will be here on Wednesday. Is costing me $2500 to move it, that's half the price of the machine. I could move it myself but I can't get a 10k forklift delivered to unload it.


I'm prepping my machine I have here for the move it so I can put the new one in its place. Then I'm selling the small machine. I also bought the 4th axis of another machine. I think I'll put it on eBay. I had a tech remove all the electronics from the machine and will include all that along with the tail stock with the 4th.
 

alloy

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Jim,

They bought the software and we are testing it. Doesn't look promising at all. We were hoping that I could just pick a program and convert it without having to do anything else, but it isn't working like that. The new machines will be moved in next week along with upgrading the power for the entire shop. They are changing the breaker boxes to some heavy duty bolt in style breakers and replacing the aluminum wiring with copper.

They figure it will be at least two weeks before the machines are running. Then we get a week of training on them. We also paid $3000 for a new post processor for HSM works and it sucks. They are trying to fix it but when we try and run it on the simulator they left for us it immediately comes up with an error.

I've been working all week prepping the 3 fadals to be moved. I took extra special care of the one I'm getting. It will be here on Wednesday. Is costing me $2500 to move it, that half the price of the machine. I could move it myself but I can't get a 10k forklift delivered to unload it.


I'm prepping my machine I have here for the move it so I can put the new one in its place. Then I'm selling the small machine. I also bought the 4th axis of another machine. I think I'll put it on eBay. I had a tech remove all the electronics from the machine and will include all that along with the tail stock with the 4th.
 

JimDawson

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Since you are buying new machines and are paying for a post processor, I would get the machine vendor and the software vendor together and say ''FIX IT, MAKE IT WORK'' :grin:

Sounds like you are busy. We'll need some pictures :)
 

alloy

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That's a task. IMO, I would attack this from another side. The work has to be done at the machines I know. But the fact is, the designs need to be updated also. Those old AUTOCAD files NEED to be made into 3d modles. If you have a vocational school or tech school around and they have machining or mechanical drafting program, give those kids some OJT. They'd be happy as a pig in crap to get paid to CAD/CAM. Assign them to a programmer, machinist, setup person and get it modeled and tool paths made. With the newer software's availible, this would be like killing 2 bits with 1 stone. If your going 5 axis and haven't already been here, your gonna have to go with some high speed low drag software any way. If you have software already, it will likely take modles from software like fusion360 and create toolpaths. Most of the kids in this field have fusion already, for free. If they just make the 3d models, you'll be way ahead. Programmer can get it to toolpath.

All of our parts are already in Solidworks and have been coded for use on the Fadals. We have almost 500 different parts that were programmed in Bobcad and we don't have the original bobcad files for those parts which means a total reprogram for the parts. We hired a second programmer but he has his hands busy with the two brother machines. And he's pretty slow at it, but he was all we could find.

It's just going to take time. When we got the brother machines in the owners were out there 3-5 times per day asking when the machines would be making parts. I'm not looking forward to that with the Okuma's. It's not easy trying to learn something new with the bosses breathing down your neck. The control on the Okuma's is the space shuttle compared to rocks and sticks on the Fadal's control. Fadal's are easy and I can run them in my sleep. And the Okuma's use radiuses instead of diameter for cutter comp. That's another problem since all the code files for the Fadal's are programmed in diameter. The translation software can't seem to convert diameters to radius for comp.

It's going to be a real challenge for sure.
 
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alloy

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Since you are buying new machines and are paying for a post processor, I would get the machine vendor and the software vendor together and say ''FIX IT, MAKE IT WORK'' :grin:

Sounds like you are busy. We'll need some pictures :)
Yes you can say I'm busy. A lot of work for an old fart like me.

I'm just the machinist so not involved with the dealing with the vendors. I just tell them it ain't workin. Not what they wanted to hear. They seem to be kinda upset about it. The owners seem to think everything will go perfectly without any problems. Especially one of them, he thinks he knows everything about machining. He took a machine shopclass for one quarter in college and looks on the internet so he's now an authority on machining.

I'll take pics, I'm especially interested in the 5th axis. Never used one before. With the 4th we program off the center line of rotation for our Z levels. With the Z moving on the 5th trunion I'm not sure how exactly you keep track of the Z height. There is crach avoidance option in the control, but that's $15k and they didn't buy that. I tried to explain to them that is you crash the probe it will cost almost that to replace it. But no dice, so we hope for the best.

For years I've been scooping chips out of Fadal's, now I'll have chip conveyor's and a tool setter.

 
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JimDawson

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For a 5 axis the centerline and Z height should be handled in the CAM program, if it is working correctly. Take a look at this video, shows some amazing 5 axis work, generated by Fusion 360. AutoDesk owns HSM and uses the HSM engine in Fusion.


Chip conveyors are great, the Haas has one, been looking for one to install on the lathe.
 

alloy

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That's pretty cool. If it was just 4th axis I'd try to get the cad file and give it a try with my new to me 4th axis machine.

I'm not involved in the programming at work, my plate is full as it is. I just use Mastercam at home to try and make parts. I'm still learning.
 

bakrch

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That's pretty cool. If it was just 4th axis I'd try to get the cad file and give it a try with my new to me 4th axis machine.

I'm not involved in the programming at work, my plate is full as it is. I just use Mastercam at home to try and make parts. I'm still learning.
Looks like most of that was programmed via positioning and three axis 3D toolpaths. The Simultaneous 5 didn't really come in until the finer details were being done. Looked pretty good up until that point, too.

Guess what I am saying is that you can get pretty far on 4 axis, just need to do more than 1 setup.

Bonus if you have a full multi-axis license, as the basic and 3D mill packages only give axis-substitution and Rolldie.dll support for the 4th (which is quite limited).
 

alloy

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I have Mastercam with 5 axis, lathe, and art. I used Smartcam for 15 years but that has been almost 20 years ago and I'm still trying to get a handle on Mastercam. I'm itching to try out my new machine with the 4th. It will be delivered next Wednesday and I'll have it up and running by the end of the weekend.
 

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I think if you went to the boss and said, find me an expert who can come in here and quickly help me get this stuff going, he/she would appreciate that.

Frequently people think that asking for help is admitting a weakness or lack of skill...but really, you could do it, just not with the learning curve in the time that the business has available. Best to tell the boss now, rather than risk failing slowly, suffering all the time. You'll get some points for the suggestion.
 

alloy

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It's not my boss that's the problem. He knew like all of us it wouldn't work like they said. It's the know it all owner that took one machine shop class in college that's the problem. He will fight tooth and nail to prove he's right no matter the expense, no matter how long it takes. And he won't call in outside help.

Eventually the company president (another brother) will overrule him and we will get what we need.
 
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