Machsupport Forum

Mach Discussion => General Mach Discussion => Topic started by: Jacqui on April 07, 2013, 08:35:36 PM

Title: HELP !!!! What Do I Need??
Post by: Jacqui on April 07, 2013, 08:35:36 PM

First about the product, it's plastic eyeglass frames. These are usually made from flat sheets of acetate about 6 mm thick, machined to shape and then formed using heat.

I will be using Windows 7 Pro w/XP mode and a Tormach milling machine w/Mach3 Do I need a separate CAM program or can I use LazyCAM that comes with Mach3??

What about an 'external motion controller'??  Which one should I get?? The computer is a laptop. I would rather use USB if possible although my mind may be changeable.

I am not uneducated. I have a Doctor of Nursing and an MBA, but I am NOT a computer programmer. I need something that is easy, easy, easy and CHEAP.
Title: Re: HELP !!!! What Do I Need??
Post by: BR549 on April 07, 2013, 08:44:21 PM
You really need to direct these questions to TORMACH as they use their OWN special version of MACH3 . They would be able to guide you best as to PC recommendations. I personally would choose THEIR PC loaded with THEIR special version of WINDOWS(XPE)

Just a thought(;-) TP
Title: Re: HELP !!!! What Do I Need??
Post by: Tweakie.CNC on April 09, 2013, 06:29:21 AM
Hi Jacqui,

You should never let anything stand in the way of your dreams.

Having said that, from my experience, you are unlikely to be able to CNC machine the modern day styles of spectacle frames at anything even approaching a realistic manufacturing cost.

You would be well advised to initially draw up your intended design in a CAD/CAM package then take it to an established CNC machine shop and ask their opinion as to the feasibility of manufacture and if you are brave enough, ask about the cost.

Mind you, if the ‘Buddy Holly’ style ever comes back into fashion you may be in with a chance.  :)

Good fortune with your fund raising.  ;)

Title: Re: HELP !!!! What Do I Need??
Post by: Jacqui on April 09, 2013, 06:46:28 AM
Actually, this is the way most of them are made, although some are still made on tracer mills.  My designs and thoughts are for high-end frames, not the ones you see in LensCrafters, etc. Yes, I've worked out the costs and it is still very feasible. I've made them profitably  by hand, but my customers want more than I can produce that way. I would send them to a specialized shop (there are some here and Europe), but designs at that stage are easily stolen.
Title: Re: HELP !!!! What Do I Need??
Post by: Jacqui on April 09, 2013, 06:57:14 AM
BTW I have been in or around the optical business for 44 years, so I do know the market and the people.
Title: Re: HELP !!!! What Do I Need??
Post by: RICH on April 09, 2013, 07:55:14 AM
There is a lot of software out there these days. You have Cad, Cam, combination Cad/Cam. There is 2d and 3d. They all do the same thing to varying degrees and the software prices vary greatly. Some are geared towards being creative while others are more conventional in their interface to provide a design.

You mention LazyCam but I wouldn't recommmend it.  You need to provide a properly prepared drawing for it and
is basicaly a 2d drawing "importer" to provide 2d Gcode to machine the piece. Cambam has CAD and is more flexible
for a low price around $150. Tormach provides software for scanning a sketch via a usb camera for Gcode generation but you can do the same using Copycat and backplot the code for use by CAD.

I think the user interface is very important and is very subjective. What one finds acceptable in use can be very irriatating in use for another.

Free stuff is usualy lacking in some manner, of course you don't find out until you use it and it dosen't provide what you want. What you want to do today may not be what you want in the future. IE; so you provide an outline of the glasses for cutout but you really may want to have a rendered 3d pic of them for show. That quickly changes want you will need.

You don't want to go through learning  curves and keep trying software. You also don't want something of the day that is not supported in the future. So cheap may not be cheap in the long run.

Lots of options FWIW,

Title: Re: HELP !!!! What Do I Need??
Post by: Jacqui on April 09, 2013, 10:07:49 AM
For the others watching this, here is the link to my Facebook 'About' page that will tell you more about the project.
Title: Re: HELP !!!! What Do I Need??
Post by: RICH on April 09, 2013, 06:29:03 PM
Do not use this site to solicit.

Title: Re: HELP !!!! What Do I Need??
Post by: garyhlucas on April 09, 2013, 10:23:19 PM
It all sounds feasible to me, and I think the Tormach is a good choice.  Their tooling system looks very good, and repeatable tool holders is really the key to efficient machining.  I always keep an edge finder and a dial indicator mounted in tool holders permanently, because you always need them. Cam programs are usually described as 2D, 2-1/2D, 3D, 4D, and 5D.  2D is a program that can produce a gcode tool path using 2 axis, typically the X &Y. 2-1/2D adds the ability to also control the Z for things like drilling and pocketing, but not simultaneous with the other two axis motions.  3D gives you contouring of organic shapes ( the sexy curves stuff).  4D usually adds a 4th rotary axis to mill on the sides of parts that you rotate, or to simply re-position the part to do other sides without re-fixturing.  5D usually involves being able to also tilt the spindle in some direction.  Cost and the skill required by the operator goes up quickly!

I find that before I try programming a part there are two issues that need to be considered first.  What tools do I have available?  Sometimes you can do a part with simple tools, and sometimes you get a huge benefit from having special tools that may seem costly at first. For instance, a shaped tool that produces the groove that the lens fits into may warrant a special tool.  I used to have an endmill with a reduced section part way up the tool.  I used it to circle interpolate a round nub with an undercut to mount vacuum cups.  A local tool sharpening service modified an end mill for me.

Holding parts is often a huge issue.  If you are clamping a part down with clamps that stick up you may have to program interrupted cuts to go around the clamps, and Cam programs that can easily do that are much more complex and expensive.  Sometimes you write a program in multiple parts, with a pause to move the clamps.  I've even used double face tape on plastic parts. If you are doing multiples you may want a Cam program that can easily nest multiple parts on a single sheet.  Doing this manually can be very time consuming.

Since you are only trying to do one type of part, and not job shopping all kinds of parts, that should make your choice easier. I would take the time to figure out the tooling and holding questions so you can factor that into your Cam requirements.  If you are already using a 3D cad program to do your design work, things will be much easier.  If not you have a double learning curve. Cam programs need some sort of model to work with.  I once worked at a place where I programmed machining centers to machine castings made to 50 year old paper drawings.  I programmed everthing manually because making a 3D model of these complex casting would take days.  They replaced me when a left with a guy dragging along his own computer and MasterCam.  He didn't last long!

If you are not using a 3D modeling program I suggest you look at Rhino3D.  Lots of artistic people using it, and the user forum is a fantastic resource.  There are also several Cam programs that run from within Rhino.  MadCam and RhinoCam, are two of them.

Hope this helps,

Gary H. Lucas
Title: Re: HELP !!!! What Do I Need??
Post by: jonny quest on April 10, 2013, 01:43:28 AM
Title: Re: HELP !!!! What Do I Need??
Post by: Jacqui on April 10, 2013, 09:22:57 AM
Thank you garyhlucas and jonny quest :) The MadCAM video is almost exactly what I will be doing. I have looked at Rhino3D before, but may need to take another closer look. The amount of software that is out there is totally amazing and mind boggling.

Again, Thank You everyone :)
Title: Re: HELP !!!! What Do I Need??
Post by: Jacqui on April 11, 2013, 10:40:19 AM
Someone mentioned custom mills for the groove. I am in the process of buying ready made from Italy.
Title: Re: HELP !!!! What Do I Need??
Post by: garyhlucas on April 11, 2013, 10:20:20 PM
That was me,
However if the specials you need are already available they will likely be much cheaper.  I used Rhino for 6 years, and now have 6 years with Solid Edge, and likely to be changing to Solid Works.  The changes are only because of job changes, they are all very good software in their own ways.

Gary H. Lucas