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12.3.4. Tutorial for Turning

Welcome to our tutorial on using SimCam for Turning with the Turning Center machine. In this guide, we will walk you through the basic operation for external turning, from setting up your workpiece and drawing your contour to implementing operations like roughing, finishing, and facing. We will also delve into essential features like layer navigation and toolside selection. Accompanied by detailed images, this tutorial is a practical step-by-step guide for both beginners and experienced machinists. Let's begin our journey into turning!
 
This guide demonstrates the use of the Turning Center machine, configured to millimeters, using standard tools that come with the simulator. For custom toolsets, find similar tools to those used here.
 

Part one: External Turning Basics

 
Start by loading the machine, ensuring that millimeters are selected as the units in the settings.
 
 
 
Now, let's create a workpiece. Press the F2 key to bring up the Inventory Browser, then click on the 'Lathe Workpieces' tab. Click 'Add New', name it "Tutorial Part", and set the Diameter to 70 and Length to 100. We'll stick with the default Aluminum material.
 
 
 
After closing the Inventory Browser, click on the SimCam tab to bring up the SimCam window. From the SimCam menu, go to [More] – [Workpiece] and select the workpiece we just created.
 
 
Set grid snap to 1 on SimCam toolbar (clicking the grid snap button), then select [Line] - [Multi-line].
 
 
 
Move the mouse to X0 Z98 and click the startpoint. Zoom in if needed.
Move the mouse straight up to X30 and make another click.
 
 
Move the mouse straight to the left to Z80 and click.
 
 
Continue by clicking at the following coordinates:
 
X26 Z79
X26 Z60
X60 Z60
X60 Z40
X68 Z40
X68 Z0
 
To end the multi-line function, make a right-click with the mouse or press ESC on the keyboard.
 
This is how your drawing should look like now.
 
 
Next, zoom in on the corner at X26, Z60 and click on the line as the picture shows. It will become selected and show handles at the endpoints and the center. Click on the left-most handle and select the fillet button from the popup menu that appears.
 
 
Enter 10 in the radius box that shows and press enter.
 
 
 
Now, do the same thing at the X60 Z60 corner, this time selecting Chamfer from the popup menu. Enter 2 and press Enter.
 
 

Part Two: Drawing and Mirroring

 
Let's create a center line and then mirror the contour to create a complete drawing.
 
From the SimCam menu, select [Line] -  [Drawing Line].
 
 
Click at X0, Z-10, and then at X0, Z110.
 
 
 
Let us change the style of the line so that it looks more like a center line.
Click two times on the line to show the context menu.
 
 
Click on [Modify] - [Properties] - [Open].
 
 
Change the pattern to Center.
 
 
Set the Weight to 1 pixel and the Scale to 0.5. Leave all other settings as the picture shows.
 
Click OK.
 
 
 
 
Now we will select the contour to be mirrored around the center line.
 
Press Control - A on the keyboard to select everything.
Then hold down Control while you click on the center line to deselect it.
 
 
Now, click on any of the selected objects and choose [Modify] - [Mirror] from the menu.
 
 
While holding down SHIFT on the keyboard, click on the center line to let SimCam know that it should be used as the mirror line.
 
Click anywhere in the SimCam window to deselect all.
 
Please note that mirroring and adding center lines etc., is not necessary for creating toolpaths. We just show how to do this if you want to create a drawing at the same time as you do CAM operations.
 
Let us add some vertical lines before we continue with adding the toolpath operations.
 
Make sure you have endpoint snap activated.
 
 
Click [Line] - [Drawing Line] in the SimCam menu.
 
Move the mouse near the X30 Z80 endpoint and click so that it snaps to that point.
 
 
Move the mouse straight down to X-30 and make another click.
 
 
Repeat for all other vertical lines.
 
 
Consider saving the drawing at this point under the name SimCamTurningTutorial1.
 

Part Three: Roughing Operation

 
Now we'll create a roughing operation.
 
From the SimCam menu, select [More] - [Contour] -  [Track].
 
 
Click at X0 Z98 to begin tracking.
 
 
Click on each endpoint along the contour. The red tracker will follow you.
 
 
Continue to the end and press ESC or right-click when done.
 
 
The orange dot marks the start of the contour, and the red one marks the end.
 
The next step is to change the contour we have tracked to a roughing operation.
Click on the Layers button to open the Layers panel.
 
 
 
Each operation in SimCam shows up as a layer in this panel.
 
Let us first go through the most important things on the layers panel.
 
 
These three buttons are the most important to know. You use the refresh button as soon as you want to update the thumbnail images as well as the CNC code with the latest changes.
 
The gear button to the right in the layers panel toolbar is used to create new operation layers and finally, the gear button at each layer is used to open the parameters for that operation layer. Please also note that you can open the parameters for the layer by double-clicking the information field at the layer.
 
 
Another handy trick to know is that you can hold down CTRL on the keyboard and click the info field to make that layer the only selected and visible one. Try it out!
 
As you can see, a new layer got created when you did the contour tracking. The type of this layer is "No operation". This is because SimCam does not yet know what you want to do with the contour.
 
Click on the gear button on this layer to open its parameters.
 
Change the name of the operation to Roughing and also change the Type to Roughing.
 
 
Click OK to close the parameters for now. We will return to this window later.
 
The roughing layers frame turned red to notify you that there is a problem. Don't worry, it is normal. If you click the information button on the layer, you will see that SimCam is missing two points on the layer to define the workspace.
 
 
The two corner points of the workspace tell SimCam where you want to start cutting and where you want to end. Let us add the points now.
 
First, make sure the layer is selected (the frame color is dark) by clicking on it.
 
From the SimCam menu, select [Point] and then click at X68 Z102.
 
You will see an orange point indicating the startpoint of the workspace.
 
Make another click at X26 Z10.
 
 
Hit ESC on the keyboard to stop the point function.
 
Click the refresh button at the bottom of the layers panel.
 
 
We got cuts created, but something is not as it should be!
 
 
As you can see, the cuts do not stop at the contour. They all go to the endpoint of the workspace.
This is because we have not decided on the tool side of the contour yet.
Small arrows that represent the toolside are, by default, on the center of the contour and, therefore, not visible. We have to change them.
 
To avoid click conflicts, hide the drawing layer by clicking on its eye button.
 
 
Now click on the contour and select [Flip toolside] from the menu.
 
 
Click one time so that the arrows point to the right of the contour.
Note how the cuts change; they now stop at the contour. Always remember to set the tool side correctly on all contours.
 
 
Let's change the depth of cut to a slightly smaller value.
 
Double-click on the info field of the layer or click on the gear button to open the parameters for the operation.
 
Set the Depth of Cut value to 2.5.
 
 
Click OK to close the dialog.
 

Part Four: Fine Cut and Facing Operation

 
Let's add a fine cut.
 
Click the gear button in the layers panel toolbar and select finishing.
 
 
Open the parameters for the new layer and change the tool to number 2.
 
 
Click OK.
 
Remember how we added two points to the roughing layer to define its workspace? We need to do the same thing on this layer. Add the first point at X72 Z100 and the second one at X24 Z24.
 
We also need to copy the contour from the roughing layer to our new finishing layer.
 
Click on the orange contour and select [Copy] from the menu.
 
 
Now click on the info field of the finishing layer to make it the selected one.
 
In the SimCam menu, click [More] - [Paste Contour] to paste the contour onto the new layer.
 
In the layers panel toolbar, click on the bulb button and select Show All.
 
 
Click on the Refresh button in the layers panel toolbar.
 
 
Simulate!
 
 
We are missing a facing operation. Let us add one.
 
Click on the gear button in the layers panel toolbar and select Facing.
 
 
Open the parameters of the new layer and select tool number 3. Also, type in 1 as Depth of Cut.
 
 
Add two points to this layer as well. The first one at X26 Z100 and the second one at X0 Z98.
 
Simulate!
 
 
Excellent work! You've completed the Turning Center tutorial.
 
In conclusion, this tutorial has guided you through the essential steps of using SimCam for the Turning Center machine, utilizing the standard tools in a millimeter setting. We've covered the creation of a workpiece, plotting and modifying lines, drawing and mirroring operations, and both roughing and finishing operations. By following these steps, you've gained a solid foundation for your future turning operations. Remember, practice and repetition are key to mastering these skills. Happy machining!