CNC Simulator Pro

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12.3.1. Tutorial 1 Milling

Welcome to the first SimCam tutorial for CNCSimulator Pro! In this step-by-step guide, you will learn the basics of using SimCam to create a canon wheel, a simple yet practical example to help you become familiar with the software. This tutorial will cover essential topics such as setting up the workpiece, drawing geometries, defining contours, and simulating the machining process. By the end of this tutorial, you'll have a solid foundation to build upon as you explore more advanced features and techniques in SimCam. Let's dive in and create your first CNC program!
 
 
This tutorial uses millimeters. First, go to Program Settings by selecting [Settings] - [Program Settings] and choose the Program tab. Select [Use millimeters] and click OK. Load the machine by clicking this button and select the Milling Center machine in the Milling folder. Remember to uncheck the Load example checkbox.
 
 
Next, ensure you have a workpiece in the workpiece registry that matches the drawing.
 
Click [Settings] - [Inventory] (F2) in the main menu and select the Mill Workpieces tab.
 
Click Add New to add a new workpiece (only if you don't already have a workpiece with these measurements).
 
 
Enter X100, Y100, Z20, and provide a name for the workpiece. Close the window.
 
Click the SimCam tab to switch to the SimCam view, then click [More] - [Workpiece] from the SimCam menu.
 
 
Select the workpiece you just created.
 
Tip! Always start a new project by adding a workpiece.
 
You should now see a blue rectangle representing the workpiece on the screen. Use the mouse wheel to zoom out to a comfortable level.
 
 
We will start by drawing a circle with a radius of 45 at the center of the workpiece.
 
From the SimCam menu, click [Circle/ Arc] - [Drawing Circle/ Arc] - [Center – Radius].
 
Move the mouse to the center of the workpiece (X70 Y70) and click.
 
 
Drag the mouse until you see a radius of 45 and click again.
 
Now you will see the angle compass to set the start and end angles of an arc. Since we're creating a full circle, hold down SHIFT and press Enter on the keyboard.
 
 
You will get:
 
 
We now have the outer contour for the wheel. Let's add lines to help us define one of the wedge pockets.
 
From the SimCam menu, click [Line] - [Drawing Line].
 
At the bottom of the SimCam window, ensure you have at least the following snaps enabled:
 
 
 
Click the center and the right extreme point of the circle. The mouse hair cross will snap automatically to these points.
 
A horizontal line will be added to the drawing.
 
Now, let's draw a line from the center and out at a 45-degree angle.
 
Again, click [Line] - [Drawing Line] in the menu and click the center of the circle for the starting point.
 
Move the mouse up to the right; the angle snap function will help you stay at 45 degrees. Click a bit past the circle.
 
Click on the line you just created to show its handles.
 
 
Click on the top handle to show its popup menu, then click on the trim button to trim off the part outside of the circle.
 
 
This is what you should have now, and that is actually all objects we need to make our entire canon wheel!
 
 
It is time to add a contour for making one of the wedge pockets.
 
From the SimCam menu, click [More] – [Contour]– [Track].
 
Click the center of the circle.
 
 
Now you will see "the Tracker." It will follow your steps until you complete the contour. To show the tracker where to go, click on as many snap points along the way as possible.
 
Click the intersection between the horizontal line and the circle. Continue by clicking the intersection point between the 45-degree line and the circle, and finish by clicking the center of the circle again. Finally, right-click with the mouse or hit Esc on the keyboard.
 
Your contour should look like this:
 
 
Information: Note the arrows showing the toolpath direction of the contour. The small arrows showing the so-called toolside are not visible here, as the default toolside is right on the contour. The toolside can be either left, right, or on the contour.
 
If you click on the contour, a menu will appear, allowing you to change the toolside and contour direction.
 
 
Since we want the tool to go on the inside of the contour, we need to change it.
 
Click on the contour and then click twice on Flip toolside.
 
Now you can see the small arrows pointing inwards.
 
It's time to set the parameters for the contour layer.
 
Click on the button at the lower-left corner to display the layers dialog.
 
As you can see, two layers have been automatically created for us: one guide layer and one contour layer.
 
 
You can show/hide and enable/disable a layer at any time. Each contour layer has a gear button to open its parameters.
 
On the contour layer, click the gear button.
 
 
Tip! You can also double-click the black information field in the layers panel to open its parameters.
 
 
The Cutting Operation Parameters dialog will be shown.
 
At the top, enter the name of the operation and select the operation type. We will use this contour to pocket mill the inside.
 
 
For now, we can leave all other parameters as they are. Click OK to close the dialog.
 
As you can see, the pocket cuts have been automatically calculated for us, and a CNC program is already produced!
 
 
Let's get back to the parameters and set some more data for the pocket to be as we want it.
 
Click on the gear button again on the contour layer.
 
 
Enter 2 for Save for fine cut and 10 for Cutting Level Z.
 
 
Let's say our machine or tool doesn't allow us to cut the entire depth at once. To solve this, click on the Stepping tab and check Use Stepping.
 
Fill out the values from the image.
 
 
Now, click OK to close the parameters dialog and observe how the program and drawing have changed.
 
At this point, we can check the CNC program by clicking the play button.
 
 
The view will automatically change to the 3D view, and the simulation will start.
 
 
Click on the SimCam tab to return to the SimCam view.
 
We will add seven rotated copies of the layer to create all pockets.
 
In the layers dialog, click on the contour layer to select it.
 
 
A selected layer has a dark grey frame around it.
 
Now, at the bottom of the dialog, click on the Duplicate Layer button.
 
 
You will get an identical copy of your contour layer. Click on its gear button to open the parameters for the new layer.
 
Click on the Transformation tab to see the transformation settings.
 
Under rotate, fill in 45 for angle and 70, 70 for X and Y rotation center.
 
 
Click on OK. Now you should have a rotated copy looking like this:
 
 
Now for the magic, as the second copy has a rotation transformation, all copies from now on will get rotated 45 degrees. Click six times on the Duplicate layer button and see for yourself!
 
This is what you should have now:
 
 
If you want, click on the play button now to simulate what we got so far. Also, it might be a good idea to save your work at this time. Do this by selecting FileSave SimCam file from the main menu.
 
Tip! If you are in a hurry, click Quick simulate in the Simulate menu.
 
 
 
Now it is time to add a contour for the outside pocket operation (please note that we call this a pocket operation even if we are not talking about an actual pocket with outer borders).
 
To remove the material outside of the circle, we need to define the outer contour of the workpiece as a pocket with the circle as an island (to be left untouched).
 
First of all, let's hide all pocket layers while we do our final work. Click on the bulb button at the bottom of the layers dialog and select Hide All to hide all layers.
 
 
Show the guide layer by clicking the Eye button.
 
 
At the bottom of the layers panel, click the gear button and add a pocket layer.
 
 
From the SimCam menu, click [More] – [Contour]– [Follow mouse].
 
Click all four corners of the workpiece rectangle in a clockwise order starting with the lower-left corner. End by clicking the first corner point again and then hit Esc on the keyboard (or right-click).
 
 
As we are going to make a pocket with an island, we need more than one contour on the same layer, and because of that, we need to make the pocket layer the selected one.
 
In the layers dialog, click the contour layer we just created to make sure it is the selected one (it should have a dark grey frame around it).
 
 
Now we can define the second contour that will end up on the same layer.
 
From the SimCam menu, click [More] – [Contour]– [Track].
 
Click on the left extreme point on the circle (the point most to the left, there will be a snap point there).
 
Click on the upper extreme point, then the right one, the bottom one, and finally, on the left one again to close the contour.
 
Now your drawing should look like this:
 
 
This final layer contains two contours. The second and all following contours will automatically be treated as islands when we make it a pocket layer.
 
Note how the two contours have a number on them. They indicate the order of the contours.
 
As you can see on the circle contour, there are no small arrows visible indicating the toolside. This is because the default toolside is right on the contour. As we want the tool to go on the outside of the circular island, we need to change it.
 
To be able to click on a contour, we have to disable the guide layer to avoid confusion with the lines and circles.
 
At the top layer, the guide layer, click on the Padlock to deactivate it.
 
 
Click on the contour and then click twice on Flip toolside in the menu shown.
 
Now you can see the small arrows pointing outwards from the contour.
 
The square contour defining the outside of the pocket operation has the arrows on the contour, and that is fine.
 
The final step is to open up the parameters for the new layer. Fill out the cutting data as shown.
 
 
If you want, activate stepping on this layer as well, just like we did before with the wedge pocket.
 
Click OK when ready.
 
 
Click on the bulb button to show all layers.
 
This is what your part should look like:
 
 
Now, click on the play button.
 
 
 
Congratulations, you have just finished your first SimCam tutorial!
 
With this tutorial, you have learned the basic concepts of SimCam, such as creating a workpiece, drawing objects, adding contours, and simulating the CNC program. As you continue exploring SimCam and its features, you will discover more advanced capabilities and options to further enhance your CNC programming skills.
 
As you gain experience with SimCam, you'll be able to tackle more complex projects and create efficient, high-quality CNC programs for a wide range of applications. Remember that practice is key to mastering any software, and SimCam is no exception.
 
Don't be afraid to experiment with new techniques and tools, and consult the documentation and online resources to expand your knowledge. Happy machining!