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> Solidworks Plug In?
djb
post Oct 27 2006, 05:16 PM
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Is there a tutorial, or any documentation on the solidworks plug-ins that are a part of sprutcam?

I understand the plug-in is supposed to allow me to update my model in solidworks and then send it to sprutcam again and it should update my operations to the new model. It appears to work, however, I have one challenge.

After importing a model from solidworks 2005 using the sprutcam icon in solidworks... I then start building my CAM operations. I create a set of folders in the "3D Model" section of sprutcam that are used to isolate specific operations.

When I make a change to my model in solidworks, and then push the change from solidworks to sprutcam, it updates the model as one would expect. However, It also appears to delete my folders containing the isolated geometry's.

Is there a step Im missing? Any tips or tricks that would prevent me from rebuilding the folder list once I make a change in solidworks?

David
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Sprut_UK
post Oct 27 2006, 07:27 PM
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Hi David, I don't know of any tutorials etc. for the SolidWorks addin in SprutCAM, maybe we'll get something in SprutCAM 2007........

I don't have SolidWorks so I cannot tell you how to solve this problem. I do use the Rhino Addon for this purpose and this relies on the name of the imported file to keep the associativity.
When I link through from Rhino, the model is placed in the SprutCAM 'Model' folder, when I change the model in Rhino and use the SprutCAM shortcut again it simply replaces the original model of the same name.

If you have created sub-folders within the SprutCAM Model folder, then it may be that by importing the revised model from SolidWorks again it is replacing the complete Model folder.

You could try:

Create a new folder (node) outside of the Model folder and copy the contents of the Model folder (Faces curves etc.) into this new folder. Then when the modified model is loaded from SolidWorks again it will update the Model folder and leave your newly created folder intact.
You will have to copy the new contents of the Model folder to the required location(s).

Unless you are going to use only the Model folder when linking from any external CAD system I think you are going to lose the associativity that you require.

Please let us know how you get on.

Dave
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Chris Booth
post Apr 5 2007, 03:53 PM
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David,

I have a work-around that will overcome some of the issues related with working with SolidWorks and SprutCAM at the same time, but not all of them.

I do not have a work-around that will let you keep your work-in-progress if you have to make a change to the SolidWorks model and re-export it, but I do have a work-around that will let you export new (additional) SolidWorks elements to a SprutCAM session without losing any work-in-progress.

For example, if you want to add 3D curve geometry (which SprutCAM won't let you make), or if you want to make e.g. a roughing limits sketch based on offsetting from model geometry, but you forgot to add the sketch to the model before the initial export, then this work-around could be of interest to you.

First of all, before exporting the SolidWorks part, make a new SolidWorks assembly and insert the part as the base part at the origin (so it shares the same position and orientation as the part model). You'll have to name and save this assembly before being allowed to export to SprutCAM, but when you do, the tree in the 3D model tab of SprutCAM will have an extra level.

Now, if while you are working in SprutCAM you want to import extra geometry from Solidworks without overriding what's already there, it can be done as follows:

In SolidWorks, insert a new part in the assembly that so far only contains the model you've already exported, and again insert it at the origin. Doing this results in the new part being in edit mode. Now make whatever additional geometry you want to get have, referencing the original model as you want since its in the assembly, and then save the part - even if it is only sketches.

Close the assembly. Open the part. Export to SprutCAM. The new geometry is added to the current SprutCAM session without overriding anything and in it's own folder in the tree.
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BOB1974
post Feb 28 2008, 08:09 PM
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Hi all, forum newbie here!! ohmy.gif


Whats all this about a solidworks plug-in?? Where do I get it from and how does it work?

Can I call in a .sldprt / .sldasm and have it show up properly now? Before I had to save as .iges and then import that. Now I could adjust the model / assembly in SolidWorks, save as usual and then import straight into Sprutcam and it'll just update. Is that the general idea?

Very handy if that was the case......

Cheers guys

Rob.
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Sprut_UK
post Feb 29 2008, 05:09 PM
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Hi Rob, welcome to the forum.........it's taken you a while to find us here tongue.gif

To use the two SolidWorks addins: in SprutCAM select 'Tools - Addin manager' and then install the two SolidWorks options.
One of these will allow you to import SolidWorks parts from within SprutCAM, the other should put a SprutCAM shortcut in SolidWorks to allow you to load the current model into SprutCAM.
I don't run SolidWorks here so I cannot vouch for it's functionality. I think that Chris Booth who posts up on the forum occasionally does use them, so I'm sure he'd be happy to give you some pointers if you are stuck.

Dave


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"Never interrupt your opponent when he is making a mistake..." - Napoleon Bonaparte
www.sprut.co.uk
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BOB1974
post Feb 29 2008, 08:25 PM
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Cheers Dave for the info and the post update.

It's taken me this long to pluck up the courage to come on here and make a fool of myself blink.gif I don't do forums but I think this one will benefit a lot of users and it looks like globally!!

Like an idiot, I've forgotten my dongle so I won't be doing much "tinkering" at home this weekend!!

Keep up the good work mate.

Rob.
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Chris Booth
post Mar 1 2008, 03:35 PM
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Hi Bob,

I can answer some of your questions, but maybe not all of them - it may depend on which SolidWorks and which SprutCAM you have! I had the 'SolidWorks toolbar' addin working with SprutCAM 4.x and SolidWorks 2004.

What this 'SolidWorks toolbar' addin did was launch SprutCAM 4.x directly from a session of SolidWorks 2004 so that the active SolidWorks model was loaded automatically into SprutCAM, arriving in SprutCAM 4.x in the same position and orientation that it had been in SolidWorks 2004.

This 'SolidWorks toolbar' addin appears in SolidWorks 2004 as a menu titled 'SprutCAM' (between the 'Tools' and 'Window' menus) with the single option 'Export to SprutCAM' - and that's exactly what it does!

This was absolutely great for parts (i.e. *.sldprt files) because you can position and orient them within SolidWorks exactly as you want before exporting to SprutCAM. Also, what was exported was not only a set of surfaces to define the part, but also the lines used in sketches etc., which at times are very handy for reference in SprutCAM.

My post on 5th April 2007 (in this thread) was really about purposefully using the .sldasm format in SolidWorks even to export a .sldprt to SprutCAM, because this then allowed us to add new geometry from SolidWorks to SprutCAM later if we want without overrunning the work we've already done in SprutCAM. It's about ADDING not CHANGING. For example, it can often be easier to define or limit machining areas by offsets from the SolidWorks model than by working with the SprutCAM model that's been imported. I would normally do this by making the new geometry in SolidWorks but in the context of the assembly and saving it as a part, even if it was only 2D information, and then exporting that new part to the SprutCAM session. This didn't overrun anything, but added the new geometry in its own folder.

Anyway, my current situation is that I've got SolidWorks 2008 and SprutCAM Master 2007 and I haven't yet got that same 'SolidWorks toolbar' addin working between those two versions - so whether you get it all to work may depend on which SolidWorks and which SprutCAM you have (I expect to get the link working soon - I hope!)

So to summarize so far: What the SolidWorks toolbar addin is all about is making it very quick and easy to move SolidWorks geometry into SprutCAM without using an intermediate format such as .iges

The question of whether or not toolpaths will just update if a change is made to the SolidWorks model is as follows:

If the changes to the SolidWorks model do not result in changes to the number of surfaces on the model, then the toolpaths will update. However, if the changes to the SolidWorks model do change the number of surfaces on the model then the toolpaths will not update. This is because if the number of surfaces on the model changes then when the part is re-exported the numbering of the surfaces is inevitably different and SprutCAM can no longer match the toolpaths to the surface numbers correctly.

In practice this means that normally you can get your toolpaths to be parametric for a family of parts in SolidWorks, but it depends what the changes are in the family of parts - sometimes you can't!

Where do you get the addin from? You may already have it! Look at the folders in your SprutCAM folder: My SprutCAM 4.x folders had the following: Sprut Technology / SprutCAM 40 / Addins / SolidWorks / SW_Toolbar.dll . That last one is the one that SolidWorks references, but there are some other files in its parent folder (the 'SolidWorks' folder above it) such as the images used as icons.

You install it as follows: Launch SolidWorks and choose Tools > Addins which launches a list of possible addins. Normally the 'SprutCAM' addin is towards the bottom (maybe in a 'other addins' section) and just tick that choice. You don't see the SprutCAM icon added automatically if you've no part loaded in SolidWorks, but as soon as you either load an existing part or make a new part, the SprutCAM menu option will appear.

I wouldn't plan to start using SprutCAM to make the toolpaths for a part if I expected to be modifying the part! It's possible, but I wouldn't recommend it. I only 'export to SprutCAM' when I'm pretty sure that 'design freeze' has been reached, i.e. that I won't be changing the part. I use it mainly for adding additional geometry related to machining when that additional geometry didn't occur to me at the time I exported the part. The two most common cases are setting limits to areas to be machined and defining 3D curve following toolpaths related the part's geometry. In a way this geometry is more related to the CAM process than the CAD, but often the tools for preparing it are more powerful in SolidWorks than in SprutCAM, and not because SprutCAM isn't powerful also, but really because SolidWorks is working with a native part.
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BOB1974
post Mar 2 2008, 07:01 PM
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WOW! Cheers Chris. I'm on SW2004 but hopefully upgrading to 2008 soon, so I'll be trying the integration in the morning.

Thanks again.

Rob.
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renlearn
post Mar 3 2008, 03:58 PM
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I am using SC2007 b5.36 and SolidWorks 2007. I have had difficulty updating the SC files after making changes to the part file in SolidWorks. According to Yuri, the problem may be resolved in the next build. FYI



Hi Yuri,
I was not able to update the part/3D-model in SC after I made changes to the original part/model in SolidWorks. You wrote last time that the tool paths can be updated after updating the model. How do I update the model in SC? Where is the part/model information (directory path) saved in SC?

I can not re-import the SolidWorks model (unless I covert it to .IGS or other format) in SC as file extension is not recognized. If I try to re-export the model from SolidWorks, the tool information can be retrieved, however I loose all other information related to work-piece, origins, and curves. Am I missing something? Please let me know. I frequently tweak part and it would be helpful to know how to update the model in SC without redefining origins, work-piece, or projecting all the curves. Thanks for your help.

From: Yuri A. Vishnevsky [mailto:cherry@sprut.ru]
Sent: Friday, February 01, 2008 10:22 AM
Subject: RE: Errors

Sorry for this problem. This there is discovered bug and this will is corrected in following build that will be released in few weeks.

However, for certain relief for direct import provides use at choice 'All supported formats' instead of 'SolidWorks™(Extenal)' in '3D Models' mode for 'Import' button.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Best Regards,
Yuri A. Vishnevski.
SPRUT Technology, Inc.
www.sprutcam.com


Hi Yuri,
Thanks for your follow-up. I look forward for the new build. I always use "All supported formats" for import option. One of the import options is "SolidWorks ™ (External)". However, for some reason SolidWork files do not show in the selection menu. Please let me know what could be wrong. Thanks for sending the new Post file. I have not tested it yet.

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Chris Booth
post Mar 8 2008, 07:06 PM
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Hi Fellow SolidWorks and SprutCAM users...

In my post of Mar 1st 2008 (above, in this thread) I mentioned that I've got SolidWorks 2008 and SprutCAM Master 2007 and I hadn't yet got the 'SolidWorks toolbar' addin working but was hoping to soon!

Well the very good news is that I've just updated SprutCAM to build 5.36.8 and had a while to test exporting models directly to SprutCAM from SolidWorks 2008 SP3.0 and all the functionality I mention above in earlier posts (about the 'SolidWorks toolbar' addin with earlier versions of SolidWorks and SprutCAM) is working again.

This may be the build that Yuri mentioned in his reply to renlearn in the post of Mar 3. 2008

Renlearn, once you get your updated SprutCAM to work with your SolidWorks 2007, you should find that my post of Apr 5 2007, which is about using the .sldasm format on purpose instead of the .sldprt format, gives you a technique for using SolidWorks and SprutCAM together that lets you update the model in SprutCAM without redefining origins, work-piece, or projecting all the curves.
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