Design News, March 2013

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ware's G-code output will usually handle the job, error free. at a shop is not the only option. Take on the job once in a while. Every engineer, at heart, wants to create, even at home. I recommend purchasing a handful of machines, if it's only a manual mill and lathe. The engineer will soon make it a project to CNC upgrade them. For those who do not want a project before their projects, procure a 3D printer. Computer-Aided Manufacturing Aside from using a 3D printer for 3D models, G-code will have to be run on some CNC machines. The G-code program has to be run on a Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) system. In many cases, this is done on a terminal at complete turnkey CNC machine. However, sometimes a machine is built or retro-fitted in-house — in a do-it-yourself (DIY) fashion. Most of the time, passing the G-code onto the resident machinist is all that is needed. Don't stop there, familiarizing one's self with how CAM packages operate is well worth while. Being able to handle the in-house machinery looks like an engineer who knows how to get work done. There are multitudes of software – Dr. Dennis Hong, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of RoMeLa (Robots & Mechanisms Laboratory) at Virginia Tech options out there that can interface a PC to a CNC machine. MasterCAM and TurboCAM are popular, though expensive, options. Although they are What drives Dr. Dennis Hong is full featured with G-code translahis quest to create truly humanoid tors, I will recommend starting with robots that can do useful work. the simpler but venerable option — What drives his robots are maxon Mach3. It is a popular choice used motors and controllers. Where by hobbyists to university research precision, consistency, and easy labs worldwide. The graphical-user integration are critical, maxon interface (GUI) of Mach3 is made to provides the intelligent drive syssomewhat resemble a generic CNC tems to bring tomorrow's designs machine's control terminal. Once to life. Learn how we can help the machine is selected, loading the you keep your projects moving. G-code follows suit with loading a Visit us at file in any program. After that it is a matter of having the right tool in Scan code to see video of place and the raw material clamped Dr. Hong discuss working with maxon motors. down. Of course, watch some tutorials on Mach's website. Once the G-code is loaded, making sure the correct tool is loaded for each step in the program is the main concern. The other big concern is spraying the part and cutting tool with a coolant of some sort. Being an excellent machinist takes years of SAFFiR (Shipboard Autonomous FireFighting Robot) learning and practice, but enough to get started in a short amount of time can be picked up. Sending a part out to be machined "For our high performance robots, we need high speed, light weight, high torque actuators. The only solution is maxon." Design News | march 2013 –59–

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