A Engineer friend decided to purchase some surplus CNC machinery and open up a Design and Prototype Shop. He also purchased a new seat of CAMWorks so he could run CAM directly from SolidWorks. He felt this was best for his situation since he has never programmed, set up or operated a CNC before.
He brought me in to show him how to set up his CNC machinery and I did. He is a quick learner so towards the end of the training we had some time and decided to try out CAMWorks, I wasn't expecting much. I have never used CAMWorks and He hadn't had any training on it at that point. He used a generic post processor and tool library because this was right out of the box. The custom post processors he purchased will be written by the VAR after his one on one VAR CAMWorks training is complete and same for the Machine Specific Tool Libraries.
First try out of the box CAMWorks feature recognition worked with only two small changes due to the use of the generic tool library were needed. My friend made a solid and then used CAMWorks to do everything up to and including generating the G-Code and CAMWorks was very fast. The part had Simple Rough and Finish Milling, Rough and Finish Pocketing as well as Spot Drilling, Drilling & Tapping at two different levels. Choosing two different tools and making the changes in CAMWorks was simple and he managed to make the changes and generated the machine G-Code within seconds.
I reviewed and edited the generated code and he set up and machined the part which came out perfectly. My friends question about the generated G-Code was simple, "would it run properly without editing?" which I responded "Yes." Depth of Cut, Feeds and Speeds for the material were all good. What I edited in the original generated code was to add some safety's and format the tool changes basically I did what the custom post processor would do however the original generic G-Code would have run without editing.
I was skeptical of CAMWorks, its Feature Recognition and all the other Buzzwords associated with CAM packages today but DANG it worked. The Solid was drawn in SolidWorks where he is an expert and using CAMWorks for the first time he successfully generated CNC G-Code having NEVER done it before. Then without any intervention he successfully set up and machined the sample part.
Can't wait to see how CAMWorks functions when the Custom Post Processor and Machine Tool Library are complete, should be amazing.
One of the machines is a Gang Tool Lathe so I am curious how well CAMWorks handles a Gang Tool.