Inventor Emboss feature / Engraving question mini-survey

Discuss Autodesk Inventor. Post your comments and questions about Inventor here.
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Bforeman
MCAD Contributer

Inventor Emboss feature / Engraving question mini-survey

Postby Bforeman » Tue Feb 08, 2011 12:05 am

I recently ran into a problem with a new client and their documentation practice for engraved metal panels. In the past using 2D AutoCAD, they would use a single stroke font (romans.shx) for all of their letter engraving and a single stroke element for all of their lines and curves. This would be usable without altering (after the text was exploded) by the CNC operators (MasterCAM) to create the tool paths needed for the engraving operation (a V-pointed tool is used). Now working in Inventor (2011), one does not have that luxury since the emboss tool requires a closed profile or true type fonts (that have width). When the views are created in the idw, the engraving has an outline, not a single stroke entity.

My question is how do others typically handle engraved panels in Inventor. Do you use emboss to model with and create the toolpaths another way (if so, how?)? Do you create a different document using single stroke characters and lines totally separate from the Inventor or somehow within the Inventor files? Is there an alternate technique to creating the toolpaths (we use MasterCAM) from the native Inventor model or drawing.

Any suggestions on this subject would be helpful. Please specify if the technique you describe is one you are currently using or is it merely a possible solution (but yet untried).
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cbliss
MCAD Expert

Re: Inventor Emboss feature / Engraving question mini-survey

Postby cbliss » Tue Feb 08, 2011 5:17 am

I use Save Copy As to AutoCAD .dwg and use TahlCAM from there. If I wanted single stroke fonts, I would replace the TrueType ones with .shx and explode them.
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Bforeman
MCAD Contributer

Re: Inventor Emboss feature / Engraving question mini-survey

Postby Bforeman » Tue Feb 08, 2011 12:13 pm

cbliss, thanks for your reply. That was the solution I have used in the past. I was hoping to find a better way.
The problem with that solution is a uncontrolled separate document is required to create the working CAM file. The concern here is the designer(s) may update the Inventor model (it's attached Inventor drawing (.dwg/.idw) will update automatically, but the creation of the unique AutoCAD 2D file is NOT updated automatically. It relies on the designer to recreate or edit the separate file. Also, non-CAD department personnel may modify the "working" file and the changes are not implemented into the Inventor files. Any ideas?
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cbliss
MCAD Expert

Re: Inventor Emboss feature / Engraving question mini-survey

Postby cbliss » Tue Feb 08, 2011 5:31 pm

Ideas? Contact your CAM vendor and ask if they have a means of converting from TT fonts to Stoke as it is going to CNC. Not all that simple as they would need to be reading the text entities in a part file. That means they would not be consumed by extruding or embossing. Another possibility would be if the CAM software is smart enough to figure out that a "cut" is equal to or narrower than the tool diameter and only makes a single pass.

True Type fonts are all regions. They are bounded by splines and may not be uniform width strokes. On my mill, I just let it make both passes. If the width is thin enough, it just adds to the time but still comes close to single stroke.

If the text is uniform and you reuse it, you could make the gcode as a sub routine and embedd it in the generated code.
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mcgyvr
MCAD Contributer

Re: Inventor Emboss feature / Engraving question mini-survey

Postby mcgyvr » Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:38 pm

Just use the same type of font (Romans or whatever you want) but skip out on the emboss feature. Do not do anything other than create a sketch, place your text and finish the sketch. Then simply include the sketch in your idw (or Inventor dwg) file.
The only issue is that the sketch will not render in studio.
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Bforeman
MCAD Contributer

Re: Inventor Emboss feature / Engraving question mini-survey

Postby Bforeman » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:15 pm

cbliss: I will look into your recommendation. We use the latest version of MasterCAM. Unfortunately, the programmers tend to be very narrow in their thinking, so getting them to look into something NEW requires a great deal of persuasion. Although they have the latest software, they still do much of the programming like it was 2D. The second suggestion has merit, what fonts styles do you use and recommend?

Mcgyvr: thanks for the suggestion. It's still just a workaround. It keeps the design intent for manufacturing, but you lose the ability to make the part look like the real thing. Also, the user would have to remember to turn off and on the dimension display at the sketch level for editing. Anything with both the sketch and the embossed feature requires two separate ipt files or an ipart (it still creates an editing issues)

Thanks for your suggestions.
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JDMATHER
MCAD Expert

Re: Inventor Emboss feature / Engraving question mini-survey

Postby JDMATHER » Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:20 pm

I prefer the text routines within the CAM software.
I would model the text in Inventor to show the desired end product as close as possible but instruct the CAM programmer to use it only as reference and to use the CAM software text routine to actually program the cut. But if communication is a problem....


As an aside, I remember we had a product design problem back when I was in college with a similar problem.
I was so proud that I figured out how to link the CAM to individual *.txt files that were specific to the order, until the machine started cutting out C:\order\.... (this was back in the DOS days). Got it fixed up to cut the *.txt rather than the path to the *.txt after a few embarrasing minutes of coding...
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cbliss
MCAD Expert

Re: Inventor Emboss feature / Engraving question mini-survey

Postby cbliss » Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:36 pm

Bforeman wrote:.....The second suggestion has merit, what fonts styles do you use and recommend?....
I would try any of the fonts that have matching AutoCAD font names like Simplex, RomanD or RomanS.

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