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Is there a CAM for lathe that doesn't suck?

I've started doing a lot of lathe programming at my new job.

They have Camworks Premium (Solidwork Cam).

I can't believe that Camworks is a real product. It's the most clunky, counter intuitive, and annoying CAM that I have come across. As a final frustration, all of the jargon that is used in the CAM seems like it was written by somebody who has never touched a machine before.

When we used CamWorks, the lathe portion wasn't too awful. In fact, it's better than hypermill's turning IMO. However, once you step in to mill/turn, the CamWorks implementation gets tedious. For just lathe, I can be pretty damn fast since I save all my common strategies and setup my new operation defaults to be logical.

The mill turn side makes you have multiple setups which is a huge pain in the ass and much like you said 'written by somebody who has never touched a machine before.'

Shoot me a pm and I'd be happy to give some advice.
 
Dog leg rapids, these have actually burned me a few times in milling, where simulation or even stepping through shows a direct path rapid in the XY but in the actual machine the shorter traveled axis hits its destination first.

I know what you're talking about, I noticed that when I first programmed a lathe part and actually tried to comp the tool to get the tool path line on the surface :LOL: until I realized it was based on the corner radius or whatever.
So did you ever get it to look right or did you just end up dealing with the line not being on the face of the part? I have been considering lying to the CAM and saying the turn tools are sharp and no radii but I don't like doing that kind of stuff. I may have to live with it.
@Ryan at Sparrow I did just recall, in CAMWorks turning you do have the ability to control which axis moves first on rapids on both sides of an operation and at the end of program home location rapid move as well.
There is retract and approach options, and it could just be the post processor, but it doesn't always post out the same. If I set it to retract X then Z it might still post Z then X Even though the viewport shows X then Z... I need some time to sift through it and figure that stuff out but I've been swamped lately!
 
So did you ever get it to look right or did you just end up dealing with the line not being on the face of the part? I have been considering lying to the CAM and saying the turn tools are sharp and no radii but I don't like doing that kind of stuff. I may have to live with it.

There is retract and approach options, and it could just be the post processor, but it doesn't always post out the same. If I set it to retract X then Z it might still post Z then X Even though the viewport shows X then Z... I need some time to sift through it and figure that stuff out but I've been swamped lately!
I don't do much turning so I left it as is. But I asked my reseller and this is the response I received this morning. I did not verify any of this info.

It's a function of the software to show the toolpath based on the insert radius center point by default. The actual posted code will be off the theoretical sharp corner which you can make visible with the setting shown in the attached screen shot.

The program point setting of "feature geometry" allows you to change how the program works but it's typically paired with CNC compensation being enabled. If you enable the Program Point->Fetaure Geometry without CNC compensation you will likely see gouging in the actual posted program.
 

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I don't do much turning so I left it as is. But I asked my reseller and this is the response I received this morning. I did not verify any of this info.

It's a function of the software to show the toolpath based on the insert radius center point by default. The actual posted code will be off the theoretical sharp corner which you can make visible with the setting shown in the attached screen shot.

The program point setting of "feature geometry" allows you to change how the program works but it's typically paired with CNC compensation being enabled. If you enable the Program Point->Fetaure Geometry without CNC compensation you will likely see gouging in the actual posted program.
It actually works pretty good as far as the viewport and posted code go, I like it. But it always overcuts on the simulation now which makes it unusable unfortunately. Not sure why there isn't a setting on the simulation to go off the theoretical point. Thanks though, I appreciate it
 
I've also been searching for one and currently write the code by hand at the control. If nobody beats me to it, my plan is to create good lathe CAM software and make it free online after I finish the other software project I'm working on.
it takes a big fortune to make small fortune, to make a software need a team of software
code writers and buy modules from other companies, big money couldn't beat mastercam
used to be a good product, compucore i believe later being camsoft
I visit their place about 20 guys team and see what happen.
 
to make a software need a team of software
code writers
Not really. One motivated developer can often beat out 10 or 20 man teams. Also, you don't need to buy expensive modules from outside companies to do 2 axis lathe cam. I knew a guy 20 years ago that made a autocad macro that automatically generated 2d milling and drilling code from his sketches. To be fair, it didn't do any "trochoidal milling" strategies but it did rough and finish pockets and contours.

The first step to writing software is to underestimate the effort needed and just go for it.
 
... made a autocad macro that automatically generated 2d milling and drilling code from his sketches. ...
I'm not experienced at this stuff, but my understanding is that it's a whole lot more difficult to write CNC lathe programs than milling and drilling programs, which is part of the reason that there aren't so many lathe programs, and a lot of them really aren't very good.

George
 
I'm not experienced at this stuff, but my understanding is that it's a whole lot more difficult to write CNC lathe programs than milling and drilling programs, which is part of the reason that there aren't so many lathe programs, and a lot of them really aren't very good.

George
Some of the best lathe programmer/operators I have met don't use CAM to program their lathes. I was picking up some lathe parts a couple weeks ago from the company I source my lathe work to, they do some very impressive and complex lathe work, and because of this forum, out of curiosity, I asked what software they use, and his response was the have never used CAM software to program their lathes.
 
I think that making a lathe CAM would be much, much easier than making a mill cam.

Because you're primarily working in 2 axis.

And also because the tool paths are much simpler and less varied.

You have face, OD, boring, drilling, threading, drilling, tapping, grooving, part off, and spotting. Really isn't too much compared to all the various complex toolpaths that you can have with a mill.
 
I think that making a lathe CAM would be much, much easier than making a mill cam.

Because you're primarily working in 2 axis.

And also because the tool paths are much simpler and less varied.

You have face, OD, boring, drilling, threading, drilling, tapping, grooving, part off, and spotting. Really isn't too much compared to all the various complex toolpaths that you can have with a mill.
I think most CAM packages that have turning can do that stuff fine. Its once you start getting into mill turn / sub spindle / takeover that everything gets messy REALLY fast.
 
I'm not saying that they can't do it, I just think that every cam for lathe that I've used so far is quite bad, almost as if it's an afterthought.
 
I think most CAM packages that have turning can do that stuff fine. Its once you start getting into mill turn / sub spindle / takeover that everything gets messy REALLY fast.
That's where good cam synchronization comes in.

There are no, do it all, silver bullets out there. All cam software is good at some thing(s) and no cam is great at everything. *sigh*
 
I'm not experienced at this stuff, but my understanding is that it's a whole lot more difficult to write CNC lathe programs than milling and drilling programs, which is part of the reason that there aren't so many lathe programs, and a lot of them really aren't very good.

I have to disagree, most lathes you are dealing with 2 axis. Most lathe parts are pretty simple. I can pop out a program for a lathe way faster than a milling program. Especially if its on my Mazak QT-20, or the Okuma. The Doosan with a Fanuc control I bust out SmartCAM for that. Sill quicker than a mill.
SmartCAM handled the dog leg this long ago as someone mentioned earlier, With the customization available their lathe software codes out a pretty clean.
 
Not really. One motivated developer can often beat out 10 or 20 man teams. Also, you don't need to buy expensive modules from outside companies to do 2 axis lathe cam. I knew a guy 20 years ago that made a autocad macro that automatically generated 2d milling and drilling code from his sketches. To be fair, it didn't do any "trochoidal milling" strategies but it did rough and finish pockets and contours.

The first step to writing software is to underestimate the effort needed and just go for it.

+1

The original FastSurf and then FastSolid for Cadkey were written by Robert White, and another software guy who's name I can't remember. The 'other' guy went onto write a lot of the code for Unigraphics that created and manipulated surfaces. would have been mid 90's.

My Brother has a buddy in the UK who has a specialist CAD program for civil engineers. originally a South African product. He bought it somewhat unfinished. he uses two Bulgarian software writers. He tells them what he needs. They write the code, demonstrate how it works via video conference, when the UK guy likes what he sees, the Bulgarians get paid, and he gets the software.
 
Some of the best lathe programmer/operators I have met don't use CAM to program their lathes. I was picking up some lathe parts a couple weeks ago from the company I source my lathe work to, they do some very impressive and complex lathe work, and because of this forum, out of curiosity, I asked what software they use, and his response was the have never used CAM software to program their lathes.
Kind of nonsense talk, lathe software out there are great, if you spend little time to understand them
you customize your posts, and make prototype and production real fast, being an old timer, i went from italian lathes with olliveti controls, to fanucs, as far never use software is probably possible if they used mazaks , my brother did lathe progamming and did beautiful work, but you are prone to make errors, so those shops always do one part and inspect and fix errors, not very good to do one off, we like criticize but in honesty got to be hard to make a product were everybody can be happy, used to bea guy from san diego, that criticized hard mastercam, every little detail,for him everything was crap,but .... is still there helping shops make money, he wanted a mill toolpath be store in same
level, maybe its not that easy, by the way that guy either was banned or got out of machining have not see new post from that member of this forum
 
Kind of nonsense talk, lathe software out there are great, if you spend little time to understand them
you customize your posts, and make prototype and production real fast, being an old timer, i went from italian lathes with olliveti controls, to fanucs, as far never use software is probably possible if they used mazaks , my brother did lathe progamming and did beautiful work, but you are prone to make errors, so those shops always do one part and inspect and fix errors, not very good to do one off, we like criticize but in honesty got to be hard to make a product were everybody can be happy, used to bea guy from san diego, that criticized hard mastercam, every little detail,for him everything was crap,but .... is still there helping shops make money, he wanted a mill toolpath be store in same
level, maybe its not that easy, by the way that guy either was banned or got out of machining have not see new post from that member of this forum
I never said there wasn't "great" lathe software out there. The shop that does all my lathe work, prototype lathe work, very rarely more than a quantity of 2, does not use CAM and they do have all Mazaks, but as I stated, "SOME of the best lathe programmer/operators I have met don't use CAM to program their lathes." - Keyword being SOME.
 
I never said there wasn't "great" lathe software out there. The shop that does all my lathe work, prototype lathe work, very rarely more than a quantity of 2, does not use CAM and they do have all Mazaks, but as I stated, "SOME of the best lathe programmer/operators I have met don't use CAM to program their lathes." - Keyword being SOME.
Mazak lathes are great for programming! Once you're used to them, they're pretty easy.
 
The original FastSurf and then FastSolid for Cadkey were written by Robert White
I wonder if he ever got paid? Or the guy that wrote DraftPak? I spoke with Robert White on the phone many years ago, and he was still battling Baystate to get paid for his sale of FastSurf and FastSolid. This was probably a couple years after he sold his company to Baystate.
 








 
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