“Clearance is clearance!” Yes… Until it Isn’t.

by Tyler Reid

What’s your CNC nightmare?

Browse the #instamachinist feed on Instagram long enough and you’ll come across many a happy programmer showing off their latest brush with destiny – narrowly avoiding the stuff of CNC nightmares: the crash.

“Clearance is clearance!” they proudly exclaim. And us in the audience cheer them on because we know how great it feels to come out on the winning side of this type of gamble.

Clearance is clearance.

For the unfamiliar – the saying is meant to convey that fact that, when it comes to avoiding collisions, it doesn’t matter if we miss by .001” or 10”. Clearance is clearance.

That is, until it isn’t.

There is a reason why we celebrate these near-catastrophes and that is because the consequences are all too familiar. It’s not really a matter of if we are going to crash the machines, it’s a matter of when and how badly. We’ve all done it and we’ll all do it again.

The most benign crashes break tools – normally putting the shop owner out the cost of the tool, stock, and machine time up to that point (which isn’t always insignificant… I’ve taken calls from users that were invested 20+ hours into a part when suddenly a wrong leadout wiped it out).

On the more extreme end of the spectrum are the devastating crashes that damage spindle bearings and destroy pillow blocks. These crashes take machines down for days or weeks and bring 5-figure repair costs.

And somewhere in-between, we have crashes into fixtures, vises, tool holders, and other items we’re not going to want to admit to the boss we busted.

Luckily, in today’s world, we have the ability to avoid all of this by implementing a virtual simulator into our CAM workflow. Avoid the cost of repairs. Avoid the time lost. And avoid the game of “How fast can I hit E-stop?” when running a new program for the first time.

Enter Roboris.

Eureka Roboris – our virtual machine simulator of choice – allows programmers to quickly verify their g-code program without ever leaving their seat. Eureka launches directly from CAMWork (or SOLIDWORKS CAM) and automatically loads stock, part, tooling, and fixtures before running a digital simulation of the actual g-code!

Stock, fixtures, and tools automatically loaded from CAMWorks.

Roboris will simulate the entire machine environment. Any object on or around the physical machine can be included in the virtual machine. And thanks to our “reverse post-processor” we also simulate the behavior of the machine’s control.

Not only will this help stop crashes before they happen, Eureka will also help make safe programs more efficient. Material removal rate, chip thickness, spindle power, and tool forces are calculated in real time. This allows the user to optimize feedrates and tool lengths automatically.

Material removal rates calculated in real-time and optimized for better parts and shorter cycle times.

Eureka will simulate machines tools of all types – mills, lathes, multi-tasking and multi-channel machines, 6-axis robots, and more! And although we personally use Eureka with CAMWorks and SOLIDWORKS CAM, it can be connected to nearly any CAM program out there – MasterCAM, Esprit, PowerMill, and GibbsCAM to name just a few.

Sounds awesome – right?  We think so, and we want to show you more. Contact us using the form below.


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About Tyler Reid

Tyler is the Manufacturing Application Manager at GoEngineer and a SOLIDWORKS Certified Expert. Having earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Utah, Tyler worked in the medical industry for several years as a SOLIDWORKS user before joining GoEngineer in 2010. His interests lie in machine tools, manufacturing methods, and witnessing these interests while visiting customer’s facilities.

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