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Mold & Cam modules

Posted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 3:05 pm
by Top'Noob

Does anybody know the official schedule regarding when we may see Mold & Cam modules for TS7 ? Maybe a beta version just to whet my appetite ?

I am so ready to abandon the current version and jump in with both feet. :shock:

Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:51 pm
by jehronimo

I heard something about the CAM for the beginning of next year...No date for the mold module...


Posted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:54 pm
by Bill
Yes, I believe CAM is coming next year...not sure about Mold. I will say that I have seen the CAM for 7 and it is beautiful!

Posted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 2:56 pm
by Top'Noob
I can't wait until March !

We've been paying maintenance on TS Cam for a lot of years now and have not been using it at all because it just hasn't been able to compete with our other CAM software. :roll:

I have very high expectations for TS7 Cam and I hope I'm not disappointed. :twisted:

Posted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 7:23 pm
by Bill
Hi Top Noob,

It seems strange to me that you are not using TopSolid'Cam. I am curious as to what your other systems can do that you think TopSolid'Cam cannot do... Perhaps, there is something I can do to point you in a direction here. If you would, let me know some key points.

happy programming!


Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 12:51 am
by Top'Noob
The absolute largest defect in the TopSolid'Cam package is TopTool. Yes, Top Tool is not a function or feature and really needs to be regarded as a bug. Yes, the whole thing. :twisted:

I gave TopSolid'Cam a good try. I programmed everything required for our shop for several weeks and really tried to wean myself off of Mastercam. The result ? Chaos.

I keep hearing (mostly from resellers but sometimes from users) how great and powerful TopSolid'Cam is but in my experience it is just a huge PITA to use. I have been thinking of giving it another try but until I hear about a complete re-write of Top Tool I can't stomach the idea. Probably silly with TS7 around the corner anyway.

Another thing about TopSolid Cam is that it takes FOREVER to calculate difficult toolpaths. I had an extremely difficult toolpath "crunching" in Mastercam and TopSolid Cam at the same time overnight. In the morning Mastercam was done (about 12 hours I think). I let TS continue for a total of 18 hours before giving up on it. I am not sure it would have ever finished. Mastercam is using "multi-threading" to get the job done quickly on today's modern processors. TopSolid is apparently not taking advantage of this at least not in version 6.

Finally let me say that I have fiddled around with trying to create a setup sheet for TopSolid'Cam that outputs all of the information I need for many full days (probably close to 40 hours) and still cannot get things the way I want them. I don't care about the cute little picture of an end mill. I just want a compact, text based setup sheet with all the information the setup person needs and not have to go through a ream of paper per day to accomplish this. Mastercam includes a thorough setup sheet with every install. It is called "mill.set" and gives pretty much all the information a good setup guy could want. I tried my best to get something like this from TopSolid Cam and it was not even close to sufficient. More chaos in the shop...

Searching through help files at that time was of absolutely no help either. Maybe things are better now I don't know.

You may read this and just think that I am a Mastercam fanboi but it's not true. I prefer Mastercam because it is a better tool for me. As soon as TopSolid'Cam becomes an advantage to me I will be very likely to switch. I very seriously hope that time comes with TS7 because my company has spent a lot of money paying maintenance on something that is not helping us at all.

It's not all negative either. A couple things I like about TS Cam (that MC can't do) would be the superfinish which combines the water-line contour passes and also shallow passes to accurately machine complex shapes with uniform stepover and very efficiently... And I also like the surface roughing routine which I can specify the maximum pocketing pass depth for efficient material removal and also have it use finer stepdowns on the finish passes in the same operation. Brilliant.

Regarding the toolpath that I say TopSolid couldn't handle I could share the file and instructions with you if you're up to it Bill. I told my reseller about the issues and got the same old speech about how I'm the only customer he has who hates TS Cam. blah blah... Conversation ended with a bet for "lunch" based upon whether he could toolpath it to my specifications or not... Not surprisingly, his ambition escaped the moment he got out of the shop and I never heard any more about it. :roll:

So anyway, I'm not betting anything for it but if you'd like an exercise in frustration and disappointment with TopSolid Cam I will happily share the file with you. :shock:

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:26 am
by olaio
Hi Top'Noob,

I will not bet with you, my religion does not allow me to do it :wink: (i am joking of course :) ), but i would like to have your file too. Can you post it please?

TopSolid Challenge

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:36 am
by Top'Noob
Here are the actual parameters I used for my toolpaths...

1. Facing with 2.5" insert cutter at depth of z-.020 (single pass, 3000 rpm, 20 ipm, 75% stepover)

2. Rough Pocket outer shape only with 3/4" insert cutter (stock to leave "0", max stepdown .050, 45% stepover, no plunge allowed, 6000 rpm, 80 ipm)

3. Rest Rough all remaining material with 1/2 flat end mill (plunge OK, 4500 rpm, 60 ipm, .075 max stepdown, stock to leave "0", 45% stepover

4. Rest rough all over with .1875 flat end mill (8000rpm, 48 ipm, .03 stepdown, 45% stepover, stock to leave "-.015"

5. rest rough all over with 1/16 flat end mill (8000 rpm, 19.2 ipm, stepdown .015, stepover 45%, stock to leave "-.0145"

6. Finish all over with 1/4 BEM your choice of super-finishing or break into separate steep/shallow toolpaths (max stepdown/stepover = .008, stock to leave "-.020", 8000rpm, 72ipm)

7. finish leftover with 1/8 bem (stock to leave "-.020", 8000rpm, 48ipm, max stepover .004)

8. finish leftover with 1/16 bem (stock to leave "-.020", 8000rpm, 32ipm, max stepover .0025)

P.S. Regarding the bet... I don't even know where Leiria is but I think it's too far to travel for a free lunch ! :lol:

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:25 pm
by Bill
Hi TopNoob!

Let me first tell you that as far as I know, TopTool is dead in TopSolid 7 Cam. Every sample I have seen has reinforced this. That said please keep one thing in mind regarding TopTool. It was added around 10 years ago as a way to manage a library of tools. Back then, there simply wasn't a better way to do this with the technologies that existed. Believe it or not, TopTool was revolutionary back then. But, I agree the time has come for something new...:-)

I am not sure what kind of computer that you were working on when you did your tests, and what version of TopSolid'Cam you worked with. But in the past few years, the developers have done a fantastic job speeding up calculation on 3D parts. Example, I have done a test on a Core block that was around 38in x 24in x 18in (stock size). The core had around 20,000 faces on it...pretty complex part. I ran a roughing routine with every optimization I could think of turned on. The calculation took around 3-4 minutes. From there I did a Z level finish, again fully optimized at a tolerance of .0004 with a scallop of .0002. This took around 15 minutes.

As for multi-threading...Yes, TopSolid 7 is written to take advantage of this. I have seen it in the graphics already. If you are running the Pre-Release, you can easily see this by launching the windows task manager and going to the tab that shows the processing graphs.

For your setup sheets, I feel your frustration. However, I do not believe that it is impossible to create the setup sheet you want to create. I think that the problem is in the documentation and the fact that you have access to every single parameter in TopSolid'Cam (something like 8000). If you can, send me a PDF of what Mastercam outputs. I will have a look and let you know if it is possible.

As for your sample file, go ahead and send me the password. I will have a look and see if I can make any suggestions for you. I will say however, that this answer will most likely not be quickly as we are in the middle of a lot of different projects here. But I will do my best to share some insight with you.

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:21 pm
by Top'Noob
Hi Bill,

Great to hear about TopTool.

Computer used for the calculations was a pretty hot box in my opinion...

CAS: CoolerMaster Centurion 590 RC-590 Mid-Tower
CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-965 Extreme Edition 3.2 GHz 8M L3 Cache LGA1366 [+796]
CABLE: Round Cable Upgrade for Optical Drive [+19]
FAN: Asetek Liquid CPU Cooling System (Extreme Cooling Performance + Extreme Silent at 20dBA) [+54]
HDD: Extreme Performance (RAID-0) with 2 Identical Hard Drives [+29] (300GB (150GBx2) Gaming Western Digital VelociRaptor 10,000RPM SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache WD1500HLFS [+302])
MOTHERBOARD: Asus P6T Deluxe Intel X58 Chipset SLI/CrossFireX Mainboard SAS Triple-Channel DDR3/1600 SATA RAID w/ eSATA,Dual GbLAN,USB2.0,IEEE1394a,&7.1Audio [+80]
MEMORY: 6GB (2GBx3) DDR3/1800MHz Triple Channel Memory Module [+264] (Corsair or Major Brand)
OS: Microsoft® Windows Vista™ Ultimate w/ Service Pack 1 [+105] (64-bit Edition)
PRO_WIRING: Professional Wiring for All WIRINGs Inside The System Chasis with High Performance Thermal Compound on CPU [+19]
POWERSUPPLY: 750 Watts Power Supplies [+39] (Corsair CMPSU-750TX - Quad SLI Ready [+90])
TEMP: Xion XON-MTR002B Color LCD Thermal Control Panel Display [+39]
VIDEO: NVIDIA GeForce GTX295 X2 1.7GB 16X PCIe Video Card [+419] (EVGA Powered by NVIDIA [+5])
_PRICE: (+3325) -5% discount + shipping = $3250 delivered
TS Version used was the latest greatest 64 bit version at that time (JAN2009)...

Multi-threading on the way..... Awesome !

Setup sheet attached... Note it's tricky because different operation types require different information... For example "stock to leave" would be silly in a drill toolpath. Regarding the 8000 parameters,if they continue to play a part in TS7 I surely do hope they're better documented. I tried figuring out a lot of it last time around and it was very irritating.

As for the sample file, totally no rush... The mold has been running production for months so the only point of this exercise is to prove just what TS Cam can and cannot actually do. My advice would be to work on the file for 15 or 20 minutes when you can spare the time then let it calculate overnight.

The Mastercam file for this turned out to be 1.4GB and the .nc file was over 500MB... A personal record to be sure.

pw on the way.

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:31 pm
by olaio
Hi Top'Noob,

For all of you that do not know where Leiria is (i believe that only a few of you do not know),

About the lunch, you can always send it by UPS or DHL :lol:

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:32 pm
by Top'Noob
LOL I looked it up this morning.

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:22 pm
by Bill
Hi there,

Ok, so I found a few minutes to look over your part. Here is what I see so far.

Op1 - Facing - Calcualtes in less than 1 second
Op2 - First roughing - Calculates in 50 Seconds
Op3 - First ReRoughing - Calculates in 8min 14secs

That's all I have time for today. However, I will tell you this. My computer is a 3Ghz Core2 Duo, 4Gb's RAM, 512mb Nvidia 9800GT OC, 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive. By no means is this machine special...I think you will agree. Oh, and running 32bit Win XP Pro. That said, This part will take some time to calculate. However...not 20+ hours. Let me explain.

When you ran your test, I am guessing that you had it calculate everything at one go. That said, 6gb's of RAM is NOT ENOUGH TO DO THIS. Why? Simple, TopSolid is a parametric and associative system. (even when calculating tool path). This means, that we remember everything. For example, every section that the software calculates for your roughing tool paths are remembered. This is done to allow minor changes to the tool path to recalculate quickly! That being the case, the amount of memory required to do such a calculation is large. And if you through a lot of tool path at it, it simply compounds. Now, let's say you don't want to remember everything, (like mastercam), that's no problem. There are config key words that you can enter into your Top.cfg file to not remember these sections. This will mean less memory consumed as well will mean longer calculation when you make a change to the tool path and have to recalc as it will have to recalc everything. But for larger parts this is a very good method. To find these keywords go to:

\\missler\v610\local\englishus directory.

In there you will find a file called "topzcam_ex.cfg". Open this file with notepad. These are all configuration key words. To use them, just copy the one you want into your top.cfg file located in your \\missler\config directory. Search for the following:


You can play with these key words to see what works best for you. If you are going to calculate a job over nite, I would also recommend using the Batch Mode calculation. this mode will launch TS, but without the graphical interface. This is done to acces the DLL's and calculate heavy programs. That said, because we are not using the full interface, we are using less computer resources, (ie, should gain some speed).

One final thought on this for you. As I said above, you ran out of memory. When this happens, all calculations are done on the hard disk in Virtual memory. this is where your problem really is. ONce you hit the disk in any application, it can take an enourmous amount of time to finish...

As for your setupsheet...I don't see any reason why it couldn't be created in TopSolid'Cam. As to your comment on the stock to leave in drillings, why not leave the parameter there? It would simply result in a zero. I will tell you one more thing here in regards to all of the parameters that you have access to in TopSolid'CAM. More is better and it would be impossible to document all of them. But this is what you pay technical support for. When you are looking for a specific one, send an email to your dealer and ask them where to find it. It's that simple.

I will do my best to post some fun things here about TS7 CAM as more info becomes available and more importantly is available for me to post on! Have a good day. I hope this info helps you out.

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 1:45 am
by Top'Noob
Hi again Bill,

Actually when I had the TS toolpaths calculating I was only trying for one at a time however MC was also calculating heavily in the background so it's pretty likely that I was into the swap file.

I'll have to look into the keywords.

I am actually in a very busy cycle at work currently. Perhaps if things calm down in a month or so I will take another shot at this in TS cam and have some very specific dialog with you about what is giving me trouble and how to get around it.

I really look forward to hearing more about TS7 and all of it's modules.

The only reason I would be stubborn about not having "stock to leave" in drilling ops would be too much clutter for the setup guy to scan through. If we can give him just what he needs and no clutter the sheet is much more user friendly.

The answer I'd rather hear from you about setup sheets would be something more like...

"So I was talking with the Development team at Missler today and they have decided to create a setup sheet wizard for TS7. It will have simple checkbox and/or radio button choices for the user to completely customize a very detailed setup sheet. The user can configure options for the header, footer, and each type of toolpath separately then save their preferences"

Or something like that... I don't want too much do I ? :shock: :lol:

I do appreciate the time you've put into this. Thanks.

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:59 am
by remi77
Hello Bill,

Thanks a lot for your tips :D

See you,

Rémi :wink: