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PowerMill drilling automation\hole tagging plugin

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Message 1 of 112
michael.grenier4GVTU
10576 Views, 111 Replies

PowerMill drilling automation\hole tagging plugin

Hi Everyone!

 

We’re excited to share the following news… PowerMill Elite users have been asking for a better way to automate their custom drilling processes within PowerMill. Today we’re thrilled to announce a plugin that allows users to tag holes in PowerMill according to a user-defined CSV database. That database can be manually accessed but everything you need to build it also has a interactive UX inside the plugin. Users can now take more custom control of their drilling automation to suit their company’s needs.

 

Please view the teaser video below, to see if this will be of value to you

If you wish to investigate further, install the plugin and put it through its paces. Please go to the following page where you’ll have access to the full length tutorial recording, the sample files, and also a link to download the plugin.

[video]

https://mfghub.autodesk.com/resources/

 

Please note that this plugin was written as a giveaway and that the source code will also be made available soon. This will allow power-users to modify or enhance features to your exact needs.  Please send an email to na_mfg@autodesk.com, once the code is available, and we will make sure you receive instructions for access.



Michael Grenier
Senior Solution Engineer
111 REPLIES 111
Message 81 of 112

just a quick question is my .csv file look right to you or I am missing something...

Message 82 of 112

the one I sent you back was fine cause it was running on my computer.  The original one will not work with the plugin version I sent you back cause I changed the order between V11 and V31 to make it easier to read in excel



Michael Grenier
Senior Solution Engineer
Message 83 of 112

@michael.grenier4GVTU 

 

Good morning Michael,

 

Is this plugin still available? I tried the link in your o.p. but it doesn't work for me.

Also...you o.p. is fairly old now...does this plugin work with Powermill 2021, 22, 23?

Going the route of the plugin...how does it handle tool selection? Do all of the tools get chosen from what is inside the project already...or gathered from a Tool Database...or both?

I guess if I had access to the tutorial, that may answer my questions.

I think I tried this a very long time ago...but never had the time...but now I might have some time on my hands.

 

How is this plugin different from Drilling Methods....and which is better to start with in order to automate drilling?

 

Thanks,

 

Glen

Big thanks to all who contribute!
My opinions are my own and are not intended to reflect yours.
Message 84 of 112

Hi Glen,

 

Here are few answers to your questions:

 

-Is the plugin still available?  Yes, joining the video and the latest version of the plugin to this message.

-Does it supports 2021,2022 and 2023?  Totally, the joined version is currently used by few customers with the latest release

-Tool selection will be done using the tool saved in the template

-How is this different than drilling method?  It's actually similar but just gives you more flexibility since you can use standard toolpaths, but even better, you can define a hole with as many components as you want where the drilling method can only reference one component for depth and diameter.  This plugin looks at every cylinder used to define the hole.

 

Hope this helps!

 

 



Michael Grenier
Senior Solution Engineer
Message 85 of 112

@michael.grenier4GVTU 

 

Thanks Michael, I will watch the video to see if this will suit our needs...feedback to follow!

 

Glen

Big thanks to all who contribute!
My opinions are my own and are not intended to reflect yours.
Message 86 of 112
glen_h
in reply to: glen_h

@michael.grenier4GVTU 

 

So I have the plugin installed.

I've tried applying either a Drilling Method...or Toolpaths to a FeatureSet...however I get the following error and macro is paused.

Once the toolpath Generation begins it looks like it's doing the following:
1) Deactivating my intended toolpath workplane

2) macro pauses and it's asking me for a workplane called "MAINPART" and a Level Set called "MAINPART"

 

I have attached my toolpaths and method which are found in the following directory structure on my pc:

C:\dcam\pmill2\HURON_KX50\DRILLING_AUTOMATION_PLUGIN\KX50_AUTO_TEMPLATES\FCS FINISH

I am also attaching the exported hole featureset.

 

When I try running my drilling method manually...it runs fine.

Big thanks to all who contribute!
My opinions are my own and are not intended to reflect yours.
Message 87 of 112

I think I might have shared the wrong version of the plugin installer earlier.  I'm joining the rigth one now but just to see, can you go in the plugin installation folder and look at the macro files in there?  There should be one called Import-Method and Import-Toolpaths where you can add your custom macros commands before a toolpath or a method is imported.  You can get rid of everything in those those macros but don't delete the files themselves.



Michael Grenier
Senior Solution Engineer
Message 88 of 112

@michael.grenier4GVTU 

 

I uninstalled and re-installed. Got the same problem.

 

So I edited the macro called "FeatureSetStart" that was found in the installation folder, by removing the following: (not sure what it's purpose was)
 FOREACH $Lvl IN folder('level') {
IF $Lvl.Name == "MAINPART" {
EDIT LEVEL $Lvl.Name SELECT ALL
$FoundLevel = true
}
}

IF $FoundLevel == false {
STRING $path = macro_path(0)
STRING $ExitFile = $path + "\ExitPlugin.txt"
FILE OPEN $ExitFile FOR WRITE AS outputfile
FILE WRITE ${'Exit Drilling Plugin Command'} TO outputfile
FILE CLOSE outputfile
MACRO PAUSE "Level set not found!!" + CRLF + "Create set of detail only called 'MAINPART' and" + CRLF + "run again."
RETURN
}

Also I replaced the name of workplane "MAINPART" with the name of my workplane wherever "MAINPART" was found in the macro.

This seemed to solve my problem and I was able to get the Plug-in to work!!!

Additionally, I added some commands to set my rapid heights, start and end points, Leads and Links, etc.

I cannot wait to get this going, it will be a real time saver!

Thank you Michael!!!

Big thanks to all who contribute!
My opinions are my own and are not intended to reflect yours.
Message 89 of 112

Awesome, glad you got it working!  That macro should be empty originally, it's my mistake as I rebuilt the installer with a customer macro instead of the original empty one.  Hope you enjoy it, everyone currently using it saved a TON of time for hole programming so hopefully it will be the same success story for you.



Michael Grenier
Senior Solution Engineer
Message 90 of 112

@michael.grenier4GVTU 

 

Before I get too far down the rabbit hole...suppose I want to propagate this company wide.

 

We have many machines with different tool lists/naming.

 

What would be the best way to develop this automated drilling functionality...keeping in mind that other programmers may wish to use the automation...but with their tool list.

 

Is there a way to do this without having to manually update all of the toolpaths for each machines tool list?

 

Perhaps using methods instead, with no tool prescribed...only the tool diameter?

However, what doesn't make sense about the "Drilling Method", there is no option that I can see to select the tool type....only the option to state a diameter. So theoretically...the "Drilling Method" could choose an endmill, drill, ball-nose...who knows?

 

So perhaps I've answered my own question....Since we do not use the Powermill Tool Database...and our Tool List for each machine is imported via a single Template Object...then...in order for this Drilling Automation to be successful...toolpaths would be the best option.

And then, every single toolpath for every drilling feature would have to be re-programmed using the tool list of another machine. Obviously this would be very time consuming...but in the long run, probably worth it. But outside the scope of my current responsibilities!

 

Thanks,

 

Glen

Big thanks to all who contribute!
My opinions are my own and are not intended to reflect yours.
Message 91 of 112

That is a very good question that has more than one answer.

 

1-Having multiple different machines/tool list which often requires different cutting parameters and drilling cycle is the main reason why there is a Machine Cell option at the top of the plugin.  This allows you to assign a different csv file and toolpath template folder for a different machine.

 

2-If only the tools changes you can use drilling method and run the plugin with them.  The Plugin supports both, but I've found in the past methods were a little bit more buggy than standard toolpath so I've tried to stay away from them.  That said, we have a customer using them with the plugin.

 

3-Depending on how many templates and tools you've got, if the previous two options don't work, you can still use the macro files you've discovered to change the tools for specific templates using your own script in conjunction with the plugin.

 

Hope it helps!

 



Michael Grenier
Senior Solution Engineer
Message 92 of 112

@michael.grenier4GVTU 

 

Okay thanks for the clarification Michael.

 

As far as using Drilling Methods...one would still be required to assign a tool from a tool list.

 

So I think I will take your advice, and go with the import toolpath instead of method. (Especially since...even if I were to use a Drilling Method...I am more inclined to create the toolpaths that I need beforehand anyway and then import those into the Drilling Method...I find this much safer and reduces the risk of forgetting settings inside the Drilling Method forms).

 

Have a great day!

 

Glen

Big thanks to all who contribute!
My opinions are my own and are not intended to reflect yours.
Message 93 of 112

Hi Michael,

 

I tried this new version as I had a very old one. It doesn't read the current data in my .csv file. I can add new data to the .csv file so I know it's reading it but the current data in there from the older plugin doesn't show up in the new version. Did the format change or something?

 

Thanks.
David

Message 94 of 112

Yes that is a good point, I did change the format so that the csv file can easily be readable in excel and that hole description shows up in the first column.



Michael Grenier
Senior Solution Engineer
Message 95 of 112

@michael.grenier4GVTU 

 

Good morning Michael!

I was able to get this plugin going.

For example...drilling ejection clearance of differing diameters and lengths.

There are so many hole types that we deal with...but I'll gradually deal with the most common holes.

 

I was wondering though....I am not a big fan of each toolpath going into individual folders. Is this built into the Plugin or is there a macro that needs to be tweaked?

 

CAPTURE1.gif

 

I'd much rather that all toolpaths be created in the main Toolpaths folder...with no folder structure at all...unless there is a folder already active...then the toolpaths would appear inside that active folder...with no additional folders created.

 

Glen

CAPTURE2.gif

 

Big thanks to all who contribute!
My opinions are my own and are not intended to reflect yours.
Message 96 of 112

Unfortunately, the folder structure is built in the plugin so unless an option was added to bypass it there isn't much we can do about it. Not a bad request for a future release though. Point taken!


Michael Grenier
Senior Solution Engineer
Message 97 of 112

Okay no problem.

Perhaps I can figure out a macro to move all the created toolpaths into the Main Toolpaths Folder, then delete the remaining unused folders.

As far as the plugin...perhaps add a "foldering" option prior to the tag and computing.

Otherwise, I do like this plugin!!!

Thank you!

Glen

Big thanks to all who contribute!
My opinions are my own and are not intended to reflect yours.
Message 98 of 112

@michael.grenier4GVTU 

Good morning Michael. I have a request for this drilling automation plugin that would be really helpful.

CAPTURE1.gif

 

Thanks!

Big thanks to all who contribute!
My opinions are my own and are not intended to reflect yours.
Message 99 of 112

I didn't set a min/max for each component to keep it as simple as possible, but what you mention is exactly what the extract tolerance is in the option menu so you can set it to whatever you want in there.  Secondly, I did like your idea of folder structure being removed so I did it in this version of the plugin if you are interested.  There is a new checkbox in the options page you can use.

 



Michael Grenier
Senior Solution Engineer
Message 100 of 112

Thank you Michael.

I wasn't really sure what that "extraction tolerance" was for. Thanks for pointing it out and I'll tweak that, and see what happens.

I'll download your latest version of the Drilling Automation Plugin. Would I need to uninstall my current version first?

Have a great day!

 

Glen

Big thanks to all who contribute!
My opinions are my own and are not intended to reflect yours.

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