12 Replies Latest reply on Aug 28, 2017 10:49 AM by Newell Voss

    Electrodes & associated documents - New user learning SW needs to get some work done!

    Matt Berube

      Hello everyone,

       

      Looking for a lot of help with various tasks related to creating electrodes.  I am very new with Solidworks but ran Topsolid (hated it) for 10 years before I was able to convince management to switch to Solidworks 2017.

       

      I have been working in a PART file environment.  I tried doing this in an assy and it seemed too time consuming although that could have been because of my inexperience. 

       

      Things seem relatively straightforward when I have a simple component to work with but when I start working with more complex components I am having concerns that it would be too easy for me to confuse the orientation of an electrode especially in situations where we need to edm 3 or more sides of a part like the one pictured.  I can easily create planes and model my electrodes in all directions as necessary but the confusion starts when I begin working on my 2-D drawings.  I start a drawing and add a standard 3 view...  Now, depending on how the model is oriented in my sldprt file, I get all sorts of choices - Top, Bottom, Front, Back, etc for how to orient the drawing views and that's fine.  I can select the one I want...  But the rotation isn't what I had in mind...  So I use "rotate view" and set things up just how I want them to look...  Now as I am doing this, I start worrying that maybe I'll get confused in the process of all this work and exporting the file out to Mastercam and maybe cut an electrode backwards.  Some electrodes *APPEAR* symmetrical but in reality, they have slight variations that must not get reversed.

       

      How can I give myself some reassurance that things are all oriented the correct way and that my 2-D drawings will match my Mastercam programs even on those days when my head is not in the game the way it should be?

       

      In my old software, I was able to set up a coordinate system that established the drawing view for a particular setup (normally the top/center of a core/cavity block) and then another coordinate system looking at the electrode in the machining perspective which I'd then use to export the electrode to Mastercam. 

       

      In Solidworks, I can't figure out how to make a drawing view oriented to a custom plane or coordinate system and I also can't figure out how to export a parasolid file oriented exactly the way I desire.  It seems the orientation of an export is automatically based on the standard SW origin.

       

      Below is a core I'm currently working on with an electrode shown in position above it.

       

      Any advice you folks can provide would be greatly appreciated.  I must figure out some efficient ways to get this work done with confidence.

       

      1.JPG

        • Re: Electrodes & associated documents - New user learning SW needs to get some work done!
          John Stoltzfus

          I'm about to step off for the weekend... But there are other guys that surely will give you a hand.. 

           

          You can select a surface (unless it's Curved) and go ctrl 8 and that will give you a "Normal Too" view - then hit your space bar and save it as a new view 

           

           

          Then you can pull those saved views in at the drawing level... or hit space bar and select the "Saved View" and it will spin in position..

          • Re: Electrodes & associated documents - New user learning SW needs to get some work done!
            Paul Risley

            You can create views in your model orientated how you want.

            Capture.JPG

            Save the views, these will show up as options in your drawing view template. (On the right hand side of your drawing)

             

            Capture.JPG

             

            Then you pick the view you want to insert into your drawing.

             

            *note* to save a view in your model click the second spy glass icon. The shortcut for pulling up the orientation dialog is spacebar anywhere in your model it should pop up.

             

            Good luck.

            • Re: Electrodes & associated documents - New user learning SW needs to get some work done!
              Ryan Navarro

              One often underutilized area of CAD is color

               

              Regarding your question: "How can I give myself some reassurance that things are all oriented the correct way and that my 2-D drawings will match my Mastercam programs even on those days when my head is not in the game the way it should be?"

               

              You could color code 3 faces (by applying appearance to just those 3 faces) to orient the model. For instance, Green/Red/Blue matching the 3 coordinates.

               

              In drawing mode you could then toggle your views display state to any of the Shaded states to confirm you have the orientation correct.

               

              Alternatively you could add some sketch text onto the Electrode like "FRONT, TOP, RIGHT" or whatever terminology you're used to

               

              Either of these methods would be able to help give you some extra confidence.

               

              Long term you should be able to come up with a process where the output is always consistent and expected, but I understand how the view alignment on drawings can seem mysterious at first.

               

              I'm guessing the problem you're facing is that the parts that you are basing the electrode design around may be importing at different orientations. If this is true then you could use the Move/Copy body command to re-orient the base part into a consistent starting orientation as your first feature, before beginning the electrode design. Or alternative use the Move/Copy body command to reposition the part into desired orientation as the very last feature, prior to drawing creation and export.

               

              Note that the Move/Copy body command only reorients the body - it does not reorient any sketches, reference geometry, etc. So you have to take care in using it.

              • Re: Electrodes & associated documents - New user learning SW needs to get some work done!
                Matt Berube

                Wow!  This is a busy place!  Thanks so much for the speedy assistance, guys!  I will see what I can do with your suggestions

                • Re: Electrodes & associated documents - New user learning SW needs to get some work done!
                  Newell Voss

                  easiest solution for output is to set yourself up with a electrode base or "template" file. just use your base stock size and add a coordinate system off the back like you mentioned with a unique name. when you do a file save as click the options tab and then select your new CS for export, otherwise yes SW does default to the part origin. you can do a quick verify by opening the file in your milling program.

                  you will always know your orientation is correct. however, as an extra step use a bump key or chamfer on your base model as a secondary indicator. easy to do on the top of your extra cutoff stock. if you are using something like a 3R holder, make an asm template and have its orientation key shown in the drawing.

                    • Re: Electrodes & associated documents - New user learning SW needs to get some work done!
                      Newell Voss

                      for simply core trodes like this as well, I would suggest creating an assembly with your base part and then just bring a stock block in and use the insert>features>cavity function and it will save you a ton of time rather than copying and building your trodes with surfaces.

                      also RNB makes a certified add in for SW ($$) called ElectrodeWorks that is pretty usefull if you find yourself doing nothing but trodes all day.

                        • Re: Electrodes & associated documents - New user learning SW needs to get some work done!
                          Matt Berube

                          This assembly technique sounds like exactly what I initially hoped to do but I haven't been able to figure out how to get there yet.  I'm self trained using only a couple books written by Paul Tran.

                           

                          If anyone can give detailed instructions or example files on how to make the assembly environment work efficiently for this purpose, I'd be eternally grateful.

                           

                          Not sure what features would need to be contained in the "electrode base file" but it would be incredible to be able to set up a graphite blank on a System 3R Pallette and be able to bring that sub-assy into my electrode creation assembly, adjust the size/location of the electrode to cover the necessary area, and modify it for my needs, and rinse/repeat as many times as necessary for the job. 

                           

                          I know just enough to be dangerous at this point but there are huge gaps in my knowledge.

                           

                          I tried the Electrodeworks program for a month already and I could see that it can do some incredible things but also quickly learned that without a strong working knowledge of Solidworks, the Electrodeworks program wasn't able to give me enough good results to justify it's cost.  Perhaps someday a program like Electrodeworks will benefit me but for now, I need to build some skills in Solidworks first.

                            • Re: Electrodes & associated documents - New user learning SW needs to get some work done!
                              Newell Voss

                              basic idea:

                              either download or build a mockup of your electrode holder. start a new part with a blank extrusion of your smallest stock size (ie; 1x1) and extrude it to your minimum stock for assembling to the holder. Then start a second extrusion with the same profile to your minimum height for "cutoff" stock (~.250") . Then do a "move face" command on the top surface and send it out some arbitrary distance for moving later on. Bring in both parts in to form a new assembly. create a sketch/point in the desired location you want to have your output coordinate system set to import into machining program. create/verify your coordinate system and then set your new assembly as a template file (point to in directory) so when you launch a new asm you can select it from the prompt window.

                              features:

                              this depends on how they are being made and burned. the above will give you a good start but you may find yourself going back to add features to simplify the process or eliminate redundancy.

                               

                              This is more of a quick and dirty old school method which will require you to add mates and position your electrode, then you can just adjust the stock sizes accordingly on the file and use the cavity feature. in most cases it is straight forward but you may also find yourself creating a bunch of cuts in order to actually make the trode machinable or for overlapping regions needing for multiple burns.

                        • Re: Electrodes & associated documents - New user learning SW needs to get some work done!
                          Jim Sculley

                          Matt Berube wrote:

                          ....

                          ....

                          Now, depending on how the model is oriented in my sldprt file, I get all sorts of choices - Top, Bottom, Front, Back, etc for how to orient the drawing views and that's fine. I can select the one I want... But the rotation isn't what I had in mind... So I use "rotate view" and set things up just how I want them to look...

                          ....

                          ....

                          Don't do that.  See this recent discussion about Rotate View and why it is not necessary 99% of the time.

                           

                          Rotate drawing view direction is backwards?

                          • Re: Electrodes & associated documents - New user learning SW needs to get some work done!
                            Rick Becker

                            Matt,  a trick I have used is to add a shallow "drill point" to the upper left corner of the block as a orientation mark. Our tool makers use this on every block to mark the "0-0" corner.

                             

                            Kinda like this...

                            orientation mark.JPG