New to programming, could really use some help...

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  • New to programming, could really use some help...

    Hello all! I've been programming for less than a year, and I'm the only person at my company that can use PC-DMIS or the CMM, so I run into a lot of situations that leave me scratching my head, with no one to ask. I've been to level 1 and level 2 training, but the emphasis there is teaching you how to use the machine, not necessarily how to accurately measure parts. To hear some "best practices" from you guys would really be helpful.

  • #2
    You sound like your in the exact same situation I found myself in a year ago, so let me give you some advice from the things Ive learned in this wild ride of becomming a CMM programmer.


    For starters, and forgive me if Im wrong, you sound like you were put in the CMM position without alot of quality and metrology experience. I was in the same boat. I was in the Quality Department for a good year after spending a majority of my life doing another skilled trade. Then, all of a sudden, my boss asks me if I wanna learn to run the CMM that the company is buying. I said sure Im a technical guy, I can learn to use that thing. Ive used tons of machines and Im good with software.

    Fast forward to the Hexagon classes and my jaw hits the floor realizing I just got into something deep. I had no idea what an XYZ coordinate system was. I had no idea about anything related to what they were discussing.

    I'll just say this. Your in the metrology business now. You need to learn the art of measurement. Hexagon shows you how to use the software, but they are not gonna teach you how to be a good dependable quality tech.

    Somehow, you gotta learn it. It means watching Tec-Ease youtube videos at night instead of watching True Detectives. It means ordering a book like "The Quality Technicians Handbook v6" from Amazon and digesting it in your free time. It means going back to school for a GD&T inspection class. It means you should be reading every thread you can on this forum and other forums that are out there. Read, read, read.

    Learn to layout a part on a surface plate, you have to know how to back your data up. If your not sure how to use Xactmeasure and you dont trust the results, learn how to do quick little sanity checks and manually measure your center points and compare them to the report. Are they off? Why? You gotta have the answers.

    And hold your ground at work. Learn GD&T so when you have a crappy print in your hand (and your gonna see ALOT of those) you know you have a crappy print. Then you can contact the customer and resolve questions you may have.

    If you guys still farm CMM work out, take the part to the 3rd party yourself. Get a tour of the place. Meet the programmers. Create some contacts. Your gonna need all the help you can get. First 2 years is gonna suck. But its so rewarding when it all starts coming together. But its all on you.

    Asking a question like you did probably aint gonna get many responses, but if you have a very specific question, these forums are a lifesaver.

    Read, Read Read!!!!!! and do some more reading.

    Happy programming man. Good luck.
    Last edited by ShankCrusher; 03-13-2014, 05:25 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by MikeyD View Post
      Hello all! I've been programming for less than a year, and I'm the only person at my company that can use PC-DMIS or the CMM, so I run into a lot of situations that leave me scratching my head, with no one to ask. I've been to level 1 and level 2 training, but the emphasis there is teaching you how to use the machine, not necessarily how to accurately measure parts. To hear some "best practices" from you guys would really be helpful.
      We all started somewhere. I had a fairly strong background in surface plate layout, bench inspection, GD&T, computers and programming in many languages when I was first introduced to Pc-Dmis more than 10 years ago. I had been a part time operator on night shift for a year and had just been to level 1 class when The programmer jumped ship and I was shown to the hot seat. I spent the first couple of years reading the F1 help files, posting lots of questions to the forums, and beating my brains out on the granite, feeling just like you do now. There is so much to learn, and this stuff is complex and extremely detailed. Keep at it. Each day you will add to your knowledge base. The "Dimensional" category of free NPL Best Practice Guides are quite useful and best of all free! http://www.npl.co.uk/publications/guides/

      sigpic"Hated by Many, Loved by Few" _ A.B. - Stone brewery

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      • #4
        I've been doing this for less than a year, and am actually a machinist (at least, that's still my job title, I wear many hats here.) But one piece of advice I can give you is, take Dr. Greg Hetland's intermediate GD&T class. He goes over GD&T principals and outlines some of the ways CMM software calculates different features and datums. to parrot what everyone else has said, read as much as you can, watch as much as you can. I come to this forum almost daily just to read new threads, it's helped me out quite a bit.
        "The more I learn, the less I know."

        "With great power, comes great responsibility."

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        • #5
          Appreciate the feedback guys, I realize it was a pretty general question. I've taken a GD&T class, and have been getting A LOT of practice there, fixing prints from engineering, and inspecting to them. Luckily, the only prints I have to read are the ones generated in house(mostly), so I can walk to the engineers office and bend their ear about problems and mistakes. I did a lot of coding in college, different languages, so I have a very good base in programming. And above all, I love doing it, which helps more than anything. Wes, thanks for the link, that's exactly the sort of thing I was looking for.

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          • #6
            Ya I never knew those existed either. Great link. Thanks!

            Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk

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            • #7
              Thanks for the link Wes!

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              • #8
                Im in your boat bud, hence my username. I completed the level 1 class and was given about 3 hours from our in house cmm tech that now is a materials engineer. He has been doing cmm programming for 8 months and has forgot majority of what he knew. One thing I have learned, this thing isn't like a bike. You got to stay in it. you cant do it for awhile and then quit and come back, use it or lose it. Me personally, this forum has helped me tremendously and I come here daily. I still don't understand a ton but I am learning. Good luck to you and keep at it. Make sure to walk away when frustrated too.
                Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.

                Booker T. Washington

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                • #9
                  Weird or unexpected behavior/results are almost always the result of an error in the alignment(s).

                  I'll bet any time someone here posts code for troubleshooting, the first thing experienced programmers look at is the alignment.
                  2012 CAD++ MR1
                  Brown & Sharpe ONE
                  PH10T

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Lost PCdmis user View Post
                    Im in your boat bud, hence my username. I completed the level 1 class and was given about 3 hours from our in house cmm tech that now is a materials engineer. He has been doing cmm programming for 8 months and has forgot majority of what he knew. One thing I have learned, this thing isn't like a bike. You got to stay in it. you cant do it for awhile and then quit and come back, use it or lose it. Me personally, this forum has helped me tremendously and I come here daily. I still don't understand a ton but I am learning. Good luck to you and keep at it. Make sure to walk away when frustrated too.
                    +1
                    you sound like someone i know quite well.... what can be said for sure? You'll get out of Demon the time you spend with Demon. Read the help stuff until you can't stands no more. It's a great feeling when the light goes on and it's because you thought it out. That makes for a time you can't wait to fire up the CMM.
                    just as important! REMEMBER....(as mentioned) There are times when to just shut it down and try again tomorrow. Nobody hits a home run each at bat. (that's why it's called Edit Window )
                    2ยข

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                    • #11
                      We all been there, it take many years and many beers but if you stick around it will pay off.

                      As far as best practices, well its all depends on many things: What you measure, your CMM capabilities, tollerances etc... I would stick to 3-2-1 ALIGN, Always do a MANUAL ALIGN 1st, then DCC ALIGN. DONT edit n ALIGNMENT, AT LEAST FOR ANOTHER YEAR!

                      AND bring beer to work
                      B&S One
                      PC-DMIS CAD v2014

                      Romer Infinity

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                      • #12
                        Speaking of alignments, I do have a question. I want to be able to have a tech just fixture a part per a work instruction, and be able to hit go without taking manual hits, just straight to DCC. Is there a thread that explains that in detail? I have some old school QA techs who aren't comfortable with anything more advanced than a height gage and micrometers. I don't want them driving the machine if I can help it.

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                        • #13
                          Everyone has given excellent advice. Please use this link at your leisure. It is a link to all my reference material that I have collected over my 20 years in the field. Keep in mind that it may not be in the best/logical order but it is in an order that my melon understands. So peruse at your will download what you want and leave the other stuff.

                          https://drive.google.com/folderview?...G8&usp=sharing
                          Last edited by JamesMannes; 03-18-2014, 10:19 AM.
                          sigpic

                          James Mannes

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                          • Calvin.Korver
                            Calvin.Korver commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Me shamelessly using your link in 2020.

                        • #14
                          Originally posted by MikeyD View Post
                          Speaking of alignments, I do have a question. I want to be able to have a tech just fixture a part per a work instruction, and be able to hit go without taking manual hits, just straight to DCC. Is there a thread that explains that in detail? I have some old school QA techs who aren't comfortable with anything more advanced than a height gage and micrometers. I don't want them driving the machine if I can help it.
                          We do something like this: (I borrowed from Wes, since he wrote it up quite well.. hope he doesn't mind)
                          from this thread in Tips and Tricks forum.....http://www.pcdmisforum.com/showthrea...-use-Readpoint
                          Originally posted by Wes Cisco View Post

                          An external alignment is quite useful if you have a fixture on your table that does not move. For example we used to have a plate bolted to the granite, in the front left corner of this plate there were two bars about .5" thick in an "L" shape. We created a little program that would measure a plane on the plate, then a plane on the inner face of each bar. Intersect the bar planes to make a line and pierce the plateplane with that line for an origin point. Then we created what we called the "nest" alignment and after it was created we saved it as an external alignment.

                          Insert>Alignment>Save

                          Then when we had a part that we planed to "seat" in the nest, we would start the program by recalling the "nest" alignment entering DCC mode and program executes with no manual hits and no readpoint.

                          HTH
                          Our 'bars' are a little thinner, bolted right to the rock and we call it 'zerorail.aln' but hopefully you get the idea...
                          an image or two to get you in the ballpark:
                          z_rail.jpg z_rail2.jpg
                          We usually place a powerpoint slide thing into a form and ask the operator if they need to view the setup. If 'yes', it opens up and once setup directions are followed and the 'show' is closed, then the program runs w/o operator intervention...
                          good luck!

                          BTW, excellent treasure-trove of helpful info provided by Mr. Mannes

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                          • #15
                            I agree with all these guys, at first when I read your comment to start the thread. I thought this was an old thread I put up. haha especially being the only one in the company to be doing this. I am a solid 1 year and 2 months deep. I am still in the learning and reading phase.... Words of advice think of how you want your program to run (precision + speed + time you have to complete the task). I look back at my old programs and wonder what the heck I was thinking when making a ten minute program. Read the help file. If you hear or see something that people are talking about...research it to get some understanding of their Spanglish. If that doesn't help ask a bunch of questions even if you know someone will call you a rookie or a newb. Honestly though there is no such thing as a dumb question only dumb people not asking questions. look into tracfields, looping, and variables... its all so interesting. It's really about the eye of the programmer, What can I do to make this faster while maintaining speed or how can I edit a report to make the font smaller or to make your own header. Good luck brother

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