Machine Programming for Everyone

June 30, 2011
Kentech Inc.s Kipware SketchPad simplifies machining for non-traditional shapes
The Kipware SketchPad lets users with little or no CAD programming experience install design details, and then develop a machining program by incorporating features and functions from a menu of G-code functions.

Kentech Inc. is expanding the range of possibilities for its Kipware® line of conversational software. Kipware has been available for more than a decade, “streamlining” CNC programming for standard operations and shapes like round pocketing, bolt circle machining, simple milling, turning, threading, and grooving. Now, the Kipware SketchPad works for programming non-traditional shapes.

Small job shops may not have the availability of a CAD/CAM programmer, Kentech noted, and larger manufacturing shops may have delays in starting or altering jobs, waiting for the CAD/CAM expert to be available. Kipware® Conversational Programming Software with the new Kipware® SketchPad allows anyone, even someone without CAD/CAM programming experience, to use an intuitive and conversational interface to install special shapes and machining operations that present themselves in virtually every shop.

Rather than use standard CAD menus, the Kipware® SketchPad uses a conversational menu that lets the user select an icon to indicate the type of element to be drawn and the direction, and also to install additional definitions of the element. In this way, even if some information about the element is not known, the software will store the known information, allow the user to continue along the shape, and calculate the unknown data and complete the elements as the user proceeds. This makes it easy to draw intersecting lines as well as line-fillet-line combinations — and makes programming possible for someone with no CAD experience. The user simply inputs the known information and the SketchPad will auto-calculate the unknown data to complete the drawing.

Once the desired toolpath has been drawn, the Kipware® SketchPad is designed to work with the user to “fill in the blanks,” to transform that sketch into a G-code program. Kentech Inc. has simplified the CAD/CAM concept and created menus that include only essential functions. Powerful G-code features like ramping and cutter compensation are automatically built into the software. Streamlined programming times and real-world G-code functions are the result.

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