Welcome to this SimCam tutorial where we are going to make a canon wheel. Our goal is not to teach you all about the program but rather to get you started with some basic concepts of SimCam.
The tutorial is made for millimeters. First go to the Program Settings by selecting [Settings] - [Settings] and choose the Program tab. Select [Use millimeters] and click on the OK button. Then load the machine by clicking this button and select the Milling Center machine. Do not forget to uncheck the Open demo checkbox.
The next thing we have to do is make sure we have a workpiece matching the drawing in our workpiece registry.
Click [Settings]– [Inventory Browser (F2)] in the main menu and select the Mill Workpieces tab.
Now, click on the green plus button in the upper right corner to add a new workpiece (only if you do not already have a workpiece with these measurements of course.)
Enter X100, Y100 and Z20 and type in a name for the workpiece, then click OK.
Click on the SimCam tab to switch over to the SimCam view, then click [More] – [Workpiece] from the SimCam menu.
Select the workpiece you created (or already had).
Tips! Always start a new project by adding a workpiece.
You should now see a blue rectangle representing the workpiece on screen. With the mouse wheel, you can zoom out to a screen size you like.
We will start by drawing the radius 45 circle at the center of the workpiece.
From the SimCam menu, click [Circle/ Arc] – [Guide Circle] – [Center – Radius].
Move the mouse to the center of the workpiece (X70 Y70) and click.
Drag the mouse until you read 45 for its radius and make another click.
Now you will see the angle compass to set start and end angle of an arc. As we are going to make a full circle, hold down SHIFT and press Enter on the keyboard.
You will get:
OK, we have the outer contour for the wheel. Let's add lines to help us define one of the wedge pockets.
From the SimCam menu, click [Line] - [Drawing Line].
At the bottom of the SimCam window, ensure you have at least the following snaps enabled:
Click the center and the right extreme point of the circle. The mouse hair cross will snap automatically to these points.
A horizontal line will be added to the drawing.
Now, let's draw a line from the center and out in a 45 degrees angle.
Again, click [Line] - [Drawing Line] in the menu and click the center of the circle for starting point.
Now move the mouse up to the right, the angle snap function will help you stay at 45 degrees. Make a click a bit past the circle.
Click on the line you just created to show its handles.
Click on the top handle to show its popup menu, then click on the trim button to trim off the part outside of the circle.
This is what you should have now. And that is actually all guides we need to make our entire canon wheel!
Now it is time to add a contour for making one of the wedge pockets.
From the SimCam menu, click [More] – [Contour]– [Track].
Click the center of the circle.
Now you will see “the Tracker”. He will follow your steps until you are done with the contour. To show the tracker where to go, click on as many snap points along the way as possible.
Click the intersection between the horizontal line and the circle. Continue by clicking the intersection point between the 45 degrees line and the circle and end by clicking the center of the circle again. Finally, right-click with the mouse or hit Esc on the keyboard.
Now your contour should look like this:
Information: Note the big arrows showing the toolpath direction of the contour and the small arrows showing the so called toolside. The toolside can be either left, right or on contour. If you click on the contour, a menu will be shown allowing the user to change toolside and contour direction.
There is no need to change anything on this contour as the default toolside already is on the inside.
It is time to set the parameters for the contour layer.
Click on the button at the lower left corner to show the layers dialog.
As you can see, two layers have been automatically created for us. One guide layer and one contour layer.
At any time you can show/ hide and enable/ disable a layer. Each contour layer has a gear button to open its parameters.
On the contour layer, click the gear button.
Tip! You can also double click the blue information field in the layers panel to open its parameters.
The Cutting Operation Parameters dialog will be shown.
At the top, enter the name of the operation and select operation type. We will use this contour to pocket mill the inside.
For the moment, we can leave all other parameters as is. Click OK to close the dialog.
As you can see, the pocket cuts have been automatically calculated for us, and a CNC program is already produced!
Well, let's get back to the parameters and set some more data for the pocket to be as we want it.
Click on the gear button again on the contour layer.
Enter 2 for Save for fine cut and 10 for Cutting Level Z.
Let's say our machine or tool does not allow us to cut the whole depth at once. To solve this, click on the Stepping tab and check Use Stepping.
Fill out the values from the image.
Now, click OK to close the parameters dialog and note how the program and drawing has changed.
At this point, we can check the CNC program by clicking the play button.
The view will automatically change to the 3D view and simulation will start.
Click on the SimCam tab to get back to the SimCam view.
Now we are going to add seven rotated copies of the layer to make all pockets.
In the layers dialog, click on the contour layer to select it.
A selected layer gets a dark gray background.
Now, at the bottom of the dialog, click on the Duplicate Layer button.
You will get an identical copy of your contour layer. Click on its gear button to open the parameters for the new layer.
Click on the Transformation tab to see the transformation settings.
Under rotate fill in 45 for angle and 70, 70 for X and Y rotation center.
Click on OK. Now you should have a rotated copy looking like this:
Now for the magic, as the second copy has a rotation transformation, all copies from now on will get rotated 45 degrees. Click six times on the Duplicate layer button and see for yourself!
This is what you should have now:
If you want, click on the play button now to simulate what we got so far. Also, it might be a good idea to save your work at this time. Do this by selecting File – Save SimCam file from the main menu.
Tip! If you are in a hurry, click Quick simulate in the Simulate menu.
Now it is time to add a contour for the outside pocket operation (please note that we call all operations pocket operations even if we are not talking about an actual pocket with outer borders).
So, to take away the material outside of the circle, we need to define the outer contour of the workpiece as a pocket with the circle as an island (to be left untouched).
First of all, let's hide all pocket layers while we do our final work. Click on the bulb button at the bottom of the layers dialog and select Hide All to hide all layers.
Show the guide layer by clicking the Eye button.
At the bottom of the layers panel, click the gear button and add a pocket layer.
From the SimCam menu, click [More] – [Contour]– [Follow mouse].
Click all four corners of the workpiece rectangle in a clockwise order starting with the lower left corner. End by clicking the first corner point again and then hit Esc on the keyboard (or right-click).
As we are going to make a pocket with an island, we need more than one contour on the same layer and hence we need to make the pocket layer the selected one.
In the layers dialog, click the contour layer we just created to make sure it is the selected one (it should be darker).
Now we can define the second contour that will end up on the same layer.
From the SimCam menu, click [More] – [Contour]– [Track].
Click on the left extreme point on the circle (the point most to the left, there will be a snap point there).
Click on the upper extreme point, then to right one, the bottom one and finally on the left one again to close the contour.
Now your drawing should look like this:
This final layer contains two contours. The second (and following) contour(s) will automatically be treated as islands when we make it a pocket layer.
Note how the two contours have number on them. They indicate the order of the contours.
As you can see from the circle contour, there are small arrows pointing outwards from the contour. That is good as we want the tool to stay on the outside of the circular island. But the square contour defining the outside of the pocket operation also has outwards arrows. Let us correct that by changing the toolside of that contour.
To be able to click on a contour, we have to disable the guide layer to avoid confusion with the guide lines and circles.
At the top layer, the guide layer, click on the Padlock to deactivate it.
Now, click on the outer rectangular contour and click on [Flip toolside] once so that the arrows disappear.
The final step is to open up the parameters for the new layer. Fill out the cutting data as shown.
If you want, activate stepping on this layer as well, just like we did before with the wedge pocket.
Click OK when ready.
Click on the bulb button to show all layers.
This is how your part should look like now:
Now, click on the play button.
Congratulations, you have just finished your first SimCam tutorial!