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> Generating toolpaths on parts with many surfaces?
post Dec 6 2005, 09:47 PM
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I have been machining parts of decent size (14" dia) with numerous (1500+) surfaces which tends to bog SprutCAM down. SprutCAM will rough machine the part without a problem but when I try to finish machine the part (Complex machine operation using 1/4" ball end mill, .02" increment in X,Y, and Z), the tool path generation really slows down. To speed up the process I have created restrictions via 2D geometry to break the toolpath into multiple quadrants. This seems to help a little, although not as much as I would expect. Could this be because for the machining parameters I am selecting the entire 3D part vs selecting only the surfaces in that quadrant? If SprutCAM will generate the tool path quicker by me manually selecting only the surfaces in that quadrant, what is the quickest way to select only those surfaces. It would probably take me the whole day to pick each surface manually. Also, I have noticed that once in a blue moon I can generate a complex finish machine operation for the entire part using the same parameters as listed above without and problems or significant delays. Any thoughts as to why? Thanks for all of your help. I have included a picture of the part for clarification.


Edited by - MMcCawley on 07/12/2005 01:08:18
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post Dec 10 2005, 05:24 PM
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Matt, Creating 3D toolpaths is one of the most memory sapping applications that you can run on a PC, so make sure you have as much RAM as possible if running very large models. Things generally 'bog down' when all the RAM has gone and Windows starts to use virtual memory.
Although not required for most people, if you are constantly running very large models in SprutCAM you might want to consider a dual processor PC. Although SprutCAM isn't written for dual processors, Windows XP does a pretty good job of it, and one of my customers reported a 60% improvement in calculation times on a dual processor Pentium machine.

You can improve things by calculating toolpaths on part of the model at a time. If you start selecting specific surfaces for machining, you need to be very careful that you don't leave yourself open to gouges because a surface was omitted from the list.
While you can select separate surfaces in SprutCAM by clicking and dragging a selection box around the required surfaces, I prefer to do this in the CAD system using the following method:
In Rhino I first join the whole model, then create a planar surface that runs through the centre of the model in X and another in Y, I then use these to split the model into four quadrants.
I then select each quadrant and use 'export selected' to save each quadrant under a different file name. You will then have four separate models of the main model.
In SprutCAM, import all four models into the 'Restrictions' folder, and then in the 'Machine' list, select the model (from the restrictions folder) that you want to machine.
Because the whole model is in the restrictions folder, no gouges can occur.

I think that the occurence of a quick calculation you mentioned is probably resulting from a change being made to a previously calculated toolpath i.e. approach/retract, under these circumstances SprutCAM only recalculates the retract/approach moves and not the whole toolpath.

By the way, you can also use the Shift / Ctrl keys to aid in selecting and deselecting surfaces.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards

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