Short background: we do a lot of one-off parts, including complex parts with high tolerance 3D surfaces. On the other hand, there's also a lot of fairly simple prismatic machining. Machines are currently 3-ax only.
We do everything manually, because we haven't got FBM to work properly. Ok, we do use a master file, from which we copy/paste operations for added speed, but I still feel we're wasting a lot of time doing repetitive programming.
Am I correct in assuming the basic CAM Express license doesn't really work for FBM? The created operations (when they happen to work) are pretty crude and only pick imaginary tools from the NX built-in sample library. Would I need the FBM author license to make any real use of this functionality?
One specific need would be to efficiently create toolpaths for threaded holes. This is still my most dreaded task; every part has umpteen holes of various size and nature and NX has the tendency to randomly assume I want to machine from the underside. In addition, our models rarely have modeled threads or chamfers, but some do. For the life of me, I can't create toolpaths for these without pulling some of my already receding hair out.
The other problem is using form taps. The drill is oversized (compared to the one on the model) and NX gives us uphill all the way.
For the threaded holes I'd be happy with a crappy old-school approach: a set of three operations with pre-defined depths (say 12mm deep 3.7mm drilled hole, countersink 2.2mm deep and tap to 10mm depth) Then just point and shoot. Unless, of course, I could get the automation to work
Any pointers would be greatly appreciated and I'll be more than happy to give more info if someone cares to help. If this is just an "idiot user" case, we'll be happy to pay our VAR to get ourselves re-programmed. If it means getting FBM author, we'll have to give it some thought.
Thanks for surviving the long rant!
Solved! Go to Solution.
It's not so much that the CAM Express license doesn't work with FBM, but that the OOTB FBM rules are not specific to your manufacturing needs. I consider the OOTB FBM to be useful for demonstrating the capabilities of NX FBM, but not actually suitable for production purposes. I've implemented FBM at numerous clients here in Canada, and in all cases, the FBM rules had to be customized for each site.
Once you have FBM running the way you need, the pay-back wrt to increased productivity is phenominal. If a company is serious about implementing FBM, I strongly recommend that someone from that company learn how to customize and maintain FBM - especially if using an outside service to help them develop and implement FBM - that way the company (i.e., you) can maintain and continue to develop/enhance their implementation as required.
One thing to bear in mind, is that FBM requires a tooling library, so if you do not currently use/have a customized tool library, that will be one of the things you will have to develop as part of your FBM implementation.
There is a PDF document that gets loaded with FBM (not sure if this gets installed with CAM Express) but check in your NX install ...\MACH\machining_knowledge_editor\bin\English\Help folder - in there is a file called MachiningKnowledgeEditor.pdf which is a user training manual.
So definitely use your VAR to help you get things going, but also get training on FBM so that you can take over the project in the long run.
Thank you @Ulas for taking the time to reply in such detail. Exactly what I was hoping to hear. I'll read the documentation and have already scheduled a meeting with our VAR.
If I can pick your brain a little more, what (if any) are the limitations and downsides for practical work?
Personnally, I don't believe there to be any down-sides to NX FBM - more like caveats or things to be aware of - as I don't know your VAR's experience with FBM, here are some general things to consider:
Now, when it comes to limitations, not to sound trite, but it's really up to your imagination. I mean, yes, there are actual limitations, but with some creativity, it is quite amazing as to what can be done.
Related to the licenses, CAM Express is not the problem, since it is a regular NX installation.
What licenses do you need:
In general it is best to start from scratch, since the machining rules shipping with NX are demonstrating all possibilities.
A simple set of rules build by your own is much easier to understand and maintain.
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Thanks @Stefan_Pendl , we currently have NX31433 CAM Express 3 Axis Milling Add-on licenses, but might be going to 5-ax or even total machining, which includes FBM MKE. I'll start with the simple rules as you suggetsed and build up from there.