Alignex Blog

How to Use Rules Based Machining in SOLIDWORKS CAM

Mike Dady on July 9, 2020 at 11:30 AM


Hi, I’m Mike Dady, Application Engineer for Alignex. When searching for a CAM solution, all the choices available can generate the G-Code needed to manufacture a product. Since the final output is the same for all solutions, companies need to make decisions based on other factors. The Time Savings a CAM tool provides is a major choice. Today we are going to show how the Rules Based Machining Technology in SOLIDWORKS CAM saves time manufacturing your SOLIDWORKS Models.

The ‘rules’ used in SOLIDWORKS CAM are found in the Technology Database. Each Machining Feature has a Default Strategy assigned to it. These strategies determine the Operations used to machine the geometry.

The Model we’ll be machining is a plate with some threaded and counterbored holes. Notice how none of the holes have any chamfers. Even though we know at least some of this geometry will need chamfers when machined.

We’ll setup the machining using the default Technology Database and Strategies. Notice how each Feature has the Machining Strategy set automatically. Once the features are ready, the Operations based on the strategies are generated, which create the Toolpaths needed for machining.

How to Use Rules Based Machining in SOLIDWORKS CAM

Now that the Toolpaths are generated, we can simulate the Machining inside SOLIDWORKS CAM. If we stop and review the geometry, the threaded holes all have Chamfers on them. Even though that geometry was not included in the model.

If we pay close attention to the Counterbored holes, the Chamfer is added as a separate operation after the Counterbore. What if we find a better way to machine the holes that saves time? Or maybe our customer wants the part machined a different way due to downstream requirements?

How to Use Rules Based Machining in SOLIDWORKS CAM

The power of the TechDB is that we can use our expertise to modify it. That means existing Strategies can be changed, but more importantly, new Machining Strategies can be created. This automates the process for all future needs. Let’s machine the same Part Model using a modified TechDB, and see the differences.

The first change to the machining is on the Part Perimeter. The customized TechDB has added a Chamfer operation to the machining because we know this customer wants the outer edge of the part broken.

How to Use Rules Based Machining in SOLIDWORKS CAM

The second machining change is for the Chamfer on the Counterbored Holes. In order to eliminate an operation, the Chamfer is created by modifying the Center Drill Operation Parameters.

The final change added to the TechDB is due to another customer requirement. This change adds a chamfer to the through hole of the Counterbore.

SOLIDWORKS CAM and the Rules Based TechDB make it easy to save time programming your SOLIDWORKS Models. For more information on SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDWORKS CAM, head on over to the Alignex Blog.

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