The manufacturing process can be divided into four high-level steps:
Figure 4 – Post-Processing CL Data and Machining
Creating the manufacturing model is the first step in the manufacturing process.
• You can select and copy a template manufacturing model during the creation process.
– By default, the template manufacturing model includes default datum planes and a default coordinate system.
– You can configure many other items in template manufacturing models.
For example, you can include fixtures and a configured machine tool.
• Alternatively you can create an “empty” model. However, the recommended procedure is to create the manufacturing model using a template model.
Creating the Manufacturing Environment
Configuring the manufacturing environment is the second step in the manufacturing process. This step involves configuring a number of elements within the manufacturing model. Here is a summary of the most important elements.
• Workcell – This specifies the type of machine tool being used. For example, you can specify a workcell as a 3-axis milling machine with
various machine tool parameters such as feed units, maximum spindle speed, and travel limits in the X-, Y-, and Z-directions.
• Operation – Machining operations are a series of NC sequences that are performed by a particular workcell (machine tool) and reference a particular coordinate system. They include the following elements:
– Machine coordinate system – Also referred to as the machine zero position. This specifies the program zero position in X, Y, and Z on the
– Retract plane – Also referred to as the retract surface. This specifies the clearance level to which the tool retracts after completing an NC
– Fixtures – Are parts or assemblies that can be used to hold the component being machined. For example, you can create vise
assemblies and use them as fixtures. Note, fixtures are optional elements and are not required to create NC sequences.
• Reference model – You must assemble a reference model before creating NC sequences. The reference model represents the final machined
component. Surfaces and edges are selected from the reference model and are used as references when creating NC sequences.
• Workpiece model – This represents the unmachined stock material. It is an optional element and is not required to create NC sequences. However, using a workpiece enables you to simulate the machining of the stock material.
Creating NC Sequences and CL Data
The next step in the manufacturing process is to create NC sequences in the manufacturing model; this involves the following:
• Specifying a tool.
• Selecting or creating geometry to machine (for example, a surface to machine or holes to be drilled).
• Specifying how the tool machines the selected geometry by editing machining parameters (for example, specifying cut feed rate and spindle
• When NC sequences have been created, it is then possible to create Cutter Location (CL) data files. These are generated from the tool motions within NC sequences.