Manufacturing software has come a long way over the years, and it continues to improve as the machines and hardware evolve. However, the software may not be designed to handle your specific task. It is often necessary to modify settings in the operations to meet your specific needs. For example you may have to modify the cut pattern, the step over distance, cut depths, speeds and feeds, etc. If you find yourself constantly modifying settings, you may want to look at customizing your CAM software.
If your software is NX CAM Express, you can customize the package using several tools. The nice thing about these tools is that you do not have to be a code writer to use them. NX allows you to customize your CAM package in the following ways:
- 1.Customer Defaults For Manufacturing
3.Definitions of Output formats
4.Definitions of libraries and library data
Further details on these topics can be found in the NX CAM help documents, but for this blog article I’d like to focus on one of the more common requests, that I get on our tech line. How do you change the defaults settings in the operation templates? Believe it or not this is one of the easier things to do in NX CAM. However it does require some knowledge of the inner workings of NX CAM Express.
NX CAM Express Setups
Normally you start your manufacturing program by launching one of the pre-defined setup programs. For example, you may select the Machinery Express setup in Metric.
This opens the manufacturing environment, creates a manufacturing assembly and loads the Machinery Express operation templates. It knows what operation templates to load from this file:
C:\Program Files\Siemens\NX 9.0\MACH\resource\template_dir\template.dat
If you open this file in NotePAD, and view the list, you will see the line for the Metric Machinery Express setup.
The rest of the line lists the operation templates part files which NX will load for this setup.
The metric part files are stored in the following location:
C:\Program Files\Siemens\NX 9.0\MACH\resource\template_part\metric\
If you wish to change the defaults in the operations templates, these are the files you must edit.
Note: NX 9 added a new folder for updates. This folder contains the updated copies of the operation templates when you install a QRM or patch. The folder is:
C:\Program Files\Siemens\NX 9.0\MACH\updates\template_part\metric
The option to ignore this updated file is found in the Customer Defaults, under Manufacturing - General. If toggled off the original files are loaded.
Changing the defaults
So now that we know where the operation template files are saved, how do we edit them? Referring back to the template.dat file we see that the name of the file we need to open is the Machinery_Exp.prt. So we open the Machinery_Exp.prt found in the C:\Program Files\Siemens\NX 9.0\MACH\resource\template_part\metric\ folder.
Notice the Operation Navigator of this file lists all the operation templates that we can choose from when we attempt to create an operation under this setup.
Lets assume that we want to change the cavity mill default Stepover from a 50% to 75%, of the tool flat. To do this we open the CAVITY_MILL operation and change the Percent of Flat Diameter to 75, as shown below:
Click OK to close the operation. Now you must save the change. However this is most likely a “Read-Only” file, and even if it’s not, it’s a good idea to keep the original file. Therefore I recommend that you save it as a unique file. For example, I save mine as DF_Machinery_Exp.prt (DF for DesignFusion, in case you’re wondering).
Next I have to tell the system to load this new file when I launch the Machinery Express setup. So I open the previously mentioned Template.dat file and modify the name of the file to match my new name, as shown below.
I then save and close this file.
Testing the new settings
To test that the new default setting is working, open a new part. Run the Machinery Express setup in Metric.
Create a new cavity mill operation.
If you’ve done it correctly, you should see the new default value appear, as shown below.
Keep in mind that it’s always good to keep a back-up of the original files and your modified files.
I know that editing installed files can be intimidating to some users. For this reason, Designfusion offers customization services. If you’d like us to provide this service for your company, please contact your Account Manager, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.