What are some good ways to make setups easier?

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  • What are some good ways to make setups easier?

    Currently, I use a .txt file filled with information about which sub plate I use. What standoffs go where, and what fixtures arms I use etc. Along with how to put the part on the fixture.

    The CMM programmer previous to me used pictures. But most programs would never get these actually put into the program, and was very time consuming to set up.

    I would like to hear what everyone does when it comes to this problem, as there is no single solution.

    I need to make it simple, easy to repeat, make sure anyone can do it, and easy to implement.

  • #2
    I didn't bother with pictures until the operators had a hard time setting up my programs. Something visual (picture, short video) is always a help more than a burden. Couple that with descriptive text and it may be the best that you can get other than setting it up for them / a robot.


    • #3
      I have always used pictures. That way, the operator can actually see where to put everything. I usually fixture the part in the CAD model and when they bring up the program, they can see the cad and any pictures I provide.


      • #4
        I use a lot of forms with photos and text. Then I can also have fields for trace information input also.


        • #5
          So I have a question. When it comes to the photos. How do you implement them into your program? Do you use comments at the beginning? Also, when it come to getting the photos into the program. The previous CMM programmer would take a picture on his phone, then email it to himself so he could access it on his computer. Is there an easier way you do it?


          • Douglas
            Douglas commented
            Editing a comment
            this is how I do it too, comments at the start and use my phone to my email. I find email quite a bit easier than attaching the USB cable to my phone. The only thing I add is a paper copy on file for the set-ups

        • #6
          Do you have CAD files?

          Using Viewsets, you can show the operator exactly where to take hits; much less words in comments, if that's how you do things.

          How is your setup? I have fixtures that are clearly labelled, in a box. I have a comment in every program containing loading instructions (which they can toggle on or off via a custom Form at the beginning of each program; fancy, but not necessary).
          In these loading instructions, I detail which fixture to pull; my parts are all cylindrical, so the fixture itself, also being cylindrical, just needs to be stuck in the right way (think of a small cylinder, with a thread on the end. Pointy end out, as they say!)

          As far as orienting the parts, that gets a bit trickier.
          Essentially, you screw the fixture into the part, and put the fixture into the jaws of a rotary table. Each part, being a cylinder, typically has features every 90°, along the length of the part. Sometimes these features are the same all the way around, so a few words in a comment telling them to orient one of them upright will suffice.
          Sometimes, however, there is a specific feature that needs to be aligned upright per the CMM in order for the program to run. You can do this a variety of ways:
          When I have a CAD model imported into an inspection program, I move the GDW so I can see the part clearly (easily visibly determine datum end, etc) and the aligning feature. I will create an Auto Feature in, on, or around this feature, move any objects away from the GDW (such as the Auto Feature box) and perform a Print Screen (Shift+PrtScn). I open Paint, Paste in the image, and crop out the Graphic Display Window (mostly just the relevant bits).
          From here, I can either add word boxes to the image within paint (circle something, draw a line saying "Measure right here dummy!" or something of the sort), or just insert the image into a Full Screen comment and add some text (it does shrink the image though..)

          This process of finding the feature to align in the GDW, Print Screen and Editing in Paint, and creating a comment, takes maybe 5 minutes once you get the hang of it.

          If you have CAD files of the fixtures as well, you can include pictures of those, though that may add some time.
          You could go even farther as to creating or having made an assembly, with the part and the fixture all snug together the way they're supposed to be, and include that in your program...


          • #7
            We use comments at the beginning but you can make it look sleeker if you design a custom form as BKulpa has mentioned. We have a department camera that we use. Snap a picture, upload to PC CMM Pictures folder with appropriate name, delete picture from camera.


            • InspectorJester
              InspectorJester commented
              Editing a comment
              Honestly this would be my ideal scenario. If a picture just isn't descriptive enough, you can always edit it and circle stuff!

          • #8
            It sounds like a custom form is the way to go. How would I create one, and also get it into my programs?


            • #9
              I take pictures with my phone, email it to myself. Then use Excel, import the pictures, crop and resize, add text boxes and arrows. Then I use the snipping tool in Windows and create a JPG or PNG and put the picture in a comment box in the program. Yes, it is a little time consuming to create, but our operators love it and the CMM doesn't crash.


              • #10
                It also depends on the skill level of your operators. For every program I make, I use CAD and I put the origin on the CAD in the same location/ orientation as the manual alignment. If there is fixturing involved, I will build an assembly in SolidWorks with the part in the fixture and import the entire assembly into PC-DMIS. I use no forms, comments, or pictures- all you have to do is look at the CAD and set it up exactly as it is shown in an area on the CMM where it can get to all sides


                • JacobCheverie
                  JacobCheverie commented
                  Editing a comment
                  This is nice, but as you mentioned, it depends on the skill level of the operators. With us, most of our operators are not comfortable with manual alignments; they set the part up in the same location every single time. We just need to tell them where it is.

                • Schlag
                  Schlag commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Its a monkey house here.

                • KIRBSTER269
                  KIRBSTER269 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Schlag and your the top Silverback

              • #11
                ChairsWithWheels , for a custom form: [File] -> [Reporting] -> [New] -> [Form Report]
                Right click on the main view to bring up the properties menu. You'll need to know a little bit of VB (basic event handling). The best place to learn and practice this is straight from the PCDMIS help files. They give many examples on VB scripting.
                If you're proficient in other programming languages, you can interact with PCDMIS COM object library and make some nice interfaces, allowing you to control PCDMIS without even making it visible.


                • #12
                  I've started just having a CMM setup directory on the same network location as the programs. Our CMMs have dual monitors so they have PC-DMIS on one screen and can open the setup photos on the other. It actually has been working pretty good. That way they can pull up the photos and start setting things up while the probe is calibrating.
                  PC-DMIS 2016.0 SP8



                  • #13
                    Forms are a pretty good and simple way to go. I typically use R&R/ Rayco fixture plates and standoffs for 90% of my programs. I typically put in two pictures; one with part and fixture, the other with just the fixture. I also include a text box that describes the exact standoff/ component to use and the exact location on the plate to put it. It's pretty much drag and drop for the pictures. I've found that it's easier to write text on notepad and then copy/ paste the text into the forms text box.

                    I have expanded on that to make pictures larger when I click on them. If I need more than two pictures to clearly show everything it's a big help to be able to show it all on one screen. The two picture / text box form I described worked well for a lot of years. As the parts and fixtures got more complicated i started to use the more complicated form.


                    • #14
                      We use 1x2x3 blocks, 2x4x6 blocks, clamps, and various V-blocks to do all of our setups. I have cad for all of our setup blocks and clamps and I import them into DMIS on a separate level. I transform the part cad to where it will be during the manual alignment (or readpoint alignment) so the operators can see orientation and location. I also take a snapshot of all the cad and print it so I can write the program name on it and put it with the hard copy of the part info (print/parts list/ect…).
                      Remembering my beautiful wife Taz who's life was lost on 6-13-2020. I love you and I miss you.


                      • #15
                        I use viewsets, Cad models of the part and fixture components, pictures with if/goto commands, and comments to the operator if needed. To ensure the operator knows exactly where to touch off the part, I create an initial viewset with all features hidden except the start point, then another viewset after DCC that shows all features.


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