Posts Tagged ‘NX’


NX – Create a family of standard parts (Excel)

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Design Intent:  The most common use of Part Families is to define a standard library part that has many variations.

     1.  Create an hexbolt  

     2.  Rename the expression that you want to keep

             a: Width = the radius of the cap

             b: Length = length of screw

     3.  Define the columns for the Family Table.

 >Choose Tools→Part Families from the main menu bar.

 >Make sure the Importable Part Family Template option is  cleared.

 >Click OK on the Warning dialog box.

 >Select the width expression from the top window of the Part Families dialog box.

 >Click the Add Column button.

 >Select the lenght expression from the top window of the Part Families dialog box.

 >Click the Add Column button.

Note:  Instead of choosing, Add Column, you could just double-click on the expression name in the Available Columns list, i.e. head_dia.

> Change the option menu at the top of the dialog box from Expressions to Features.

> Double-click chamfer from the top list of the Part Families dialog box.

Note:  The order in which you select the attributes determines the order of columns in the spreadsheet.

Tip:  In production, you would specify a writable folder for the Family Save Directory, but it is not necessary for this activity since you are not creating Part Family Member files.

     4.  Create the family table.

  > Click the Create button from the bottom portion of the Part Families dialog box.


 > Type in a few values

    5.  Verify a family member

 > Select a cell in row 3.

 > From the spreadsheet ADD-INS menu bar, choose PartFamily→Verify Part.

The NX session becomes active and the family member is displayed in the graphics window.

 > Click Resume in the Part Families dialog box.

Warning:  The Part Families dialog box may be obscured, if so, click anywhere in the NX window.

     6.  Save the Part Family and the template part.

 > From the spreadsheet menu bar, choose PartFamily→Save Family.

Note:  The Save Family option internally stores the spreadsheet data within the template part file. It does not save the template part file itself.

Note:  In order to save the template part containing this newly created Part Family Spreadsheet, you would also choose File→Save.

Since we do not use this part anywhere else we are not going to do that.

     7.  Close all parts.


NX – Modeling a tapered thread

Friday, May 4th, 2012tour

Currently, the NX Thread command can be used to create a fully modeled straight thread. When this command is run and the Detailed Thread type is selected a fully modeled thread will be created. NX provides Modeling tools which allow users to create fully modeled tapered threads. The Variational Sweep is one of these tools.

1. Create a Datum CSYS on the centerline of the thread at the start location of the tapered thread.

2. Create the following expressions in the Expression editor.

ANGLE will be the included angle of the thread profile. This is typically 60 degrees.

L will be the length of the thread.

P is the thread Pitch which is the distance from thread to thread.

START_DIA is the diameter at the start end of the thread.

TAPER is the taper of the thread.

END_R will be the calculated value L*TAN(TAPER)+STRT_R.

STRT_R will be calculated as START_DIA/2.

All expressions should be created as Length type expressions except for the ANGLE and TAPER variables. These two need to be set to the Angle expression type. If these variables are not created as Angle type expressions they will not be selectable when creating the feature.

3. Start the process by creating a Helix curve.


The Number of Turns will be calculated by dividing the Length by the Pitch or L/P using the defined expressions. The Pitch variable will be specified using the expression P.

4. To create the tapered helix the Radius Method Use Law will be used. When selected the Law Function window will be displayed. At this point select the Linear type.


5. Specify the Start and End radius values by supplying these expression variables.


Note that the tolerance of the helix can greatly influence the accuracy of the thread.

Initially the helix will be created to the model tolerance in effect when created. This can be found at Preferences => Modeling => Distance Tolerance.

If the accuracy needs to be improved after the helix is created a higher tolerance can be specified by editing the helix and changing the tolerance value.

6. After the helix is created select Insert => Sweep => Variational Sweep. Select the helix curve as the path. For Plane Orientation pick the Through Axis option and select the centerline of the helix for the vector. For the Sketch Orientation select the same axis.


7. When OK is pressed a Sketch will be created. At this point create the profile of the thread. Constrain all geometry to the point that was created on the helix curve when the Variational Sweep operation was started. This is an important step.


It is significant that the width of the thread be smaller than the Pitch (P-.01). If this width value is too large then the model will intersect itself as it sweeps along the helix guide curve. This would cause an invalid solid to be created.

8. When the sweep is complete a hollow thread profile will be created as seen below.


9. The thread would be completed by Uniting it to the model of the base of the thread.


This same procedure can be used to create a multi-lead thread. When creating the Variable Sweep Sketch of the thread profile create two threads at half the Pitch in width. See the sketch below along with the picture of the resultant multi-lead thread. The colors of the different leads have been altered for emphasis.

Using tools provided in NX, users can quickly and easily model complex features.

Original article courtesy of Randall Waser, Siemens.


How to add an attribute column to a BOM in NX

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

In the part attribute, I’ve created the Plist attribute, make sure you have the object selection set to “apply to component as part attribute” if you want to save the information in the part, otherwise use the “apply to occurrence in the assembly”.

In the part list I’ve created a new column and did a RMB on the full highlight column

Select Style and go to the column tab.

Click on the arrow.

Select Plist from list and OK twice.


A new look pattern command in NX8

Monday, March 5th, 2012

With NX8, the pattern command got a fresh new look and more command features associated with it.

One of the new features is the simplified boundary fill; this feature will fill the specified face with three different pattern layouts;

1- Triangle

2- Square

3- Diamond

This can easily be done in a single pattern, so no more having to position the origin of the feature, just select the feature, select the boundary face and voila!


How to measure a volume enclosed by assembly parts or cavity in NX.

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012tour

In the following assembly I need to find the volume inside the gearbox, by using SPACE FINDER from the Analysis menu.

When specifying the interior point, make sure that the point is in the space that we need to measure and not on a face. Select the part making a close environment



The space finder also create 2 datum plane specifying the minimum and maximum, this information helps us define the maximum height of volume needed using the volume-height analysis section.

 In this section you can specify either you maximum height or volume and save it has a faceted body.

This is a fast and easy way to evaluate the quantity of liquid needed, for more precise evaluation other tools are necessary.


CAM Express – the ideal CAM solution for Solid Edge or any other CAD package.

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

We are often asked to recommend a CAM solution for our Solid Edge customers. Although many CAM packages work extremely well with Solid Edge, we always recommend CAM Express. Why? Well there are several reasons for this recommendation. Some may argue that we only recommend this because Designfusion sales CAM Express. Truthfully, they would not be wrong. However, after evaluating several CAM packages, we chose to sell CAM Express because we believe that is the best CAM package on the market. The reasons for our choice and recommendation of the package are as follows:

1.    The depth and breadth of the capability of CAM Express

 CAM Express offers a broad range of in-depth NC programming capabilities that still exceed the capabilities provided by most of the CAM only software vendors.

 A key benefit is the breadth of capabilities being provided all in one CAM system. Machine shops buying other CAM systems may need multiple packages to address all of their needs. With CAM Express they can obtain a range of machine tool programming capabilities such as turning, prismatic milling and drilling , 3 axis milling, 5 axis milling and wire EDM all in one system.

 SIEMENS PLM Software is known as a leader in the CAM market place with powerful software for NC programming. CAM Express provides users with access to all of that power and capability in a system that is easy to implement, easy to learn and easy to use.

 The depth and power of CAM Express and the range of functions supported enables users and shop owners/ managers to get the most out of their new, more advanced machine tools.

What does this mean for our customers?

  • CAM Express has a wide range of functions in one system compared to most of the specialist CAM vendors – this can mean that a shop needs only one system and to deal with only one (or fewer) software vendors.
  •  The breadth and depth of the capability means that users of CAM Express can program most jobs in the software – there is always a way to get the job done in NX CAM
  •  This depth and power means that customers can get more from their investments in the latest machine tools – including mill-turn machines, 5 axis and high speed milling machines


2.    CAM Express helps maximize the value of your advanced machine tools.

 Many machine shops are responding to competitive pressures by investing in new, high productivity machines. The tooling industry has been transformed by the trend to high speed milling. Likewise, production shops are increasingly implementing multi-function turning centers and mill-turns to reduce setups and cycle times.

These machine tool investments rely on NC programming systems to achieve their best results. If a new turning center causes synch codes to be inserted by hand, the programming process slows down and cycle times may not be sufficiently reduced. If cutting patterns don’t provide constant chip loads, a new high speed mill may struggle with tool breakage.

Constant Chip Loading  

CAM Express delivers roughing cuts that maximize material removal without exceeding the specified chip load. The most advanced trochoidal cut patterns are applied to any geometry configuration, letting you push your cut parameters to the edge of the envelope. When the ins and outs of tool path patterns introduce corners, alleys, step over motion, etc., chip loads can spike, damaging tools with shock and heat loads. CAM Express uses a very flexible trochoidal approach that prevents these spikes and keeps your cutting forces steady. This is the way to get maximum productivity out of any machine: push the limits without exceeding them.

 Effective Semi-finishing

CAM Express applies a comprehensive set of technology to ensure that finish stock is predictable and consistent. Nothing causes problems with finish cuts like unexpected material, and CAM Express makes sure that your semi-finishing cuts leave the finish stock you expect. Z-level patterns ensure that large steps are not left behind by applying hybrid patterns, automatic cut levels, and steep area containment.

 The smoothest Z-level finishing

Z-level finishing in CAM Express maintains smooth contact with the part from top to bottom. Step downs ramp gradually down the part, combining the speed and smoothness of a Z-level cut with the constant contact, constant chip load of a spiral pattern.

Streamline operations fit toolpath to the part contours in a smooth, flowing manner that does depend on the underlying surface constructions. This cut method matches contours, whether open or bounded, minimizing lifts, reducing tool wear, and providing excellent surface finish.

 Automatic rest milling

Rest material machining is the application of a series of tools, from larger to smaller, to rough a part. Each tool in the series is asked to cut only what remains from the previous tool. CAM Express automatically tracks the rest material from one tool to the next, helping to program the tool sequence and keeping the dependent operations in synch with their previous operations.

 Integrated Milling and Turning

CAM Express offers a complete set of turning operations in the same environment as the complete milling operation set. Creating mill-turn operations is as easy as picking the appropriate coordinate system and programming the motion. In process workpiece models and program sequences handle the switch from milling to turning and back again easily and naturally.

Intuitive Synchronization

Multi-channel turning centers promise and provide the increased productivity that comes from attacking workpieces from several sides simultaneously. But how do you know if you have your program as efficient as possible? CAM Express provides synchronization tools that let you develop mutli-channel programs in an intuitive timeline environment. As you explore different approaches for optimizing your program, the total time and relationships between different moving parts is easily seen and simulated.

 G-code driven simulation

CAM Express simulates machine tool motion in a robust assembly environment, making it easy to see complex rotations or simultaneous motion graphically before asking the machine to do these advanced motions. Unlike most other systems, however, CAM Express uses the posted G- and M-codes to drive the machine simulation functions. This important distinction means that you see ALL of the machine motion, including any tool-change motion or go-home motion or any of the other moves that post processors often inject in to a part program as it prepared for a specific machine tool. When you simulate the internal tool paths from a different system, you might still have a surprise waiting for you at the machine, depending on what tricks the post has up its sleeve. This capability is absolutely essential for programming multi-function turning centers and mill-turns, as well as 5-axis equipment.

What does this mean for our customers?

  • As shops respond to the pressure cooker of competition, they also need to utilize state of the art CAM technology. It is an integral part of any technology upgrade.
  •  CAM Express is capable, proven CAM technology that supports the latest in high efficiency, high capability machines.


3.    Available as proven, reliable software from Siemens PLM, the #1 CAM vendor, with more than 25 years of success in the CAM market.

CAM Express is provided by Siemens PLM, a long established CAM vendor. In fact our capability in CAM pre-dates our CAD software with early developments being in and for the aerospace industry. NX CAM (formerly developed and marketed as the Unigraphics product) has been sold to many thousands of customers world-wide and in many industries.

The software is fully proven and in use with almost every size of machine shop from the smallest to the very biggest companies. With a large user base SIEMENS PLM is able to continue to invest in developing the software to maintain its competitive capability. Siemens PLM is a top rated vendor revenue according to CIMdata.

What does this mean for our customers?

  • Siemens PLM has provided CAM software solutions for a long time, and knows how to provide real productivity in real world situations.
  •  CAM Express benefits from the full weight of Siemens PLM expertise in CAM development.
  •  You are in the NC business for the long haul. So is Siemens PLM.


4.    Supplied with world class software support from Siemens PLM and Designfusion

 Siemens PLM does have the most extensive and effective customer support capability of any of the CAM vendors with a far larger resource of technical staff attached to our customer support hotlines than many vendors have. The systems in place to track and monitor customer issues and support calls are world-class. Other vendors leave all support to their resellers. Siemens PLM works with Designfusion to ensure that the customer has the best support available.

What does this mean for our customers?

  •  Not every CAM vendor has excellent support. Siemens PLM does.
  •  Designfusion customers have a direct support line to our technical staff as well as a direct line to the Siemens PLM support staff.


5.    Available as integrated packages with Siemens PLM CAD applications (NX and Solid Edge) providing full range CAD/CAM with market leading capability and value

 Siemens PLM has two of the most comprehensive CAD systems available. Most of the specialist CAM vendors try to provide basic modeling and drafting software but these don’t come close to the capabilities that USG can offer with either Solid Edge or NX CAD.

As a result, many shops will buy copies of additional CAD products in order to create or edit the 3D geometry that they need as a basis for their CAM applications. This often means that they have software from more than one vendor (CAD and CAM supplier separately). Siemens PLM supplies a complete solution to give the NC programmer the CAD tools he may need.

With integrated CAD and CAM, the maximum benefits of associativity can be realized. Change cycles are reduced, Communication is improved. Concurrency is achieved.

What does this mean for our customers?

  • NC Shops need capable CAD systems, with the highest level of associativity and integration available.
  •  SIEMENS PLM supplies CAM Express with either Solid Edge or with NX CAD
  •  Benefits include single vendor, packaged prices, and increased functional capabilities for concurrency and change accommodation.


6.    Packaged with a comprehensive foundation of core functions from post processor creation and editing to shop documentation output.


Competitive Advantages

 The CAM Express packages each has a wide range of functions built in as a base capability in each package – such as the Post Builder, base geometry creation and assemblies module, translators and tool-path verification. These functions include:

  • CAD Translators
  • Post Processor build and edit
  • Tool path verification
  • Geometry assembly
  • Stock shape creation
  • Boundary defining functions
  • Tool library interface
  • Operation navigator
  • Machining parameter library

 What does this mean for our customers?

  • NC Shops require all the supporting functional capabilities in order to operate efficiently and effectively.
  •  Siemens PLM includes these functions with every CAM Express product. There is no need to purchase add-on modules to perform these essential tasks.


7.    Pre-configured with industry best practices increasing user productivity, with selectable user environments to match key types of machining.

 Siemens PLM focuses the power of its CAM Express products on the NC programming approaches relevant to your industry. User selectable programming environments preconfigure the software and make it easy for the less experienced or new user to take advantage of the power of the CAM Express. The user only sees the options relevant for the type of work selected, such as prismatic (machinery) part programming. The system presents the functions needed and pre-sets key variables ready for use.

Of course, you can expand you view and usage of the programming system as needed to address different situations and requirements. The full breadth and flexibility remains available for use at all times. However, preconfigured software streamlines your processes and help focus your efforts on the programming tasks most typical for you.

What does this mean for our customers?

  • While breadth of capability is crucial, it is also important to deploy software quickly and easily.
  •  CAM Express provides ready software environments for mold and die machining, for 2 ½ Axis machining, and for mill-turn machining.
  •  Users learn and produce quickly.


8.    Easy to deploy and to use with on-line access to Siemens PLM’s post processor library and options for complete machine tool support kits.

 Siemens PLM provides direct access to a range of post processors via an on-line library that is hosted by the Siemens PLM Global Technical Access Center. This makes it easy for new customers or those adding machines to find and download posts directly into the CAM Express installations. This saves time and eliminates the cost of building a post processor for each machine. It makes it much faster to get up to speed.

Siemens PLM offers complete support kits for more advanced machines such as mill-turn machines. These kits include an advanced post processor (in most cases these are built using the NX Post Builder application), a 3D simulation model and a simulation driver – the simulation in CAM Express is driven from the G-code created from the post processor output. This is a clear advantage over most systems that drive their simulations from an internal representation of the tool-path – before the post processor stage.

What does this mean for our customers?

  • Post processors represent a critical deployment gate for any shop implementing NC software.
  •  Siemens PLM provides access to a library of posts that are easy to install and modify as needed for immediate use.
  •  This is in addition to the Post Builder tools that build and edit posts from scratch.
  •  Full kits are also available for certain complex machines, providing a turn-key solution for posting and machine simulation.


9.    Designed to deliver a low total cost of ownership

 CAM Express is industry leading CAM software at an affordable price. The range of capability provided in the packages is outstanding among other vendors. This is further magnified for the packages that include either Solid Edge or NX CAD with CAM Express. Yet the price is in line with industry expectations, very clearly a more-for-less proposition.

Additionally, costs over the life of the software are minimized. The ease of deployment of CAM Express, the reduced learning curve, and the ease of use all contribute to the low cost of ownership. Items such as the access to the GTAC Post Library also help reduce costs for the customer.

What does this mean for our customers?  

  • Cost is an issue, but value for investment is the real driver for machine shops.
  •  CAM Express provides outstanding value at an affordable cost.
  •  Long term savings in training and implementation further drive the value of CAM Express.


10.  The CAM Express software is part of a wide range of engineering software provided by Siemens PLM within its PLM Portfolio.

Siemens PLM provides more than just CAM and CAD software. The larger Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) portfolio includes the leading data management solutions, collaboration tools, advanced mold design and progressive die design application integrations, process planning and digital manufacturing tools.

Whatever your needs, as you scale up your CAM solution, Siemens PLM Software can provide leading applications and in-depth implementation experience.

What does this mean for our customers?  

  • While NC Programming is the foundation of CAM technology in most machine shops, competitive pressures will continue to drive more comprehensive implementations of PLM process integrations.
  •  Siemens PLM Software is the leader across the PLM spectrum, from data management to digital manufacturing.



 As you can imagine, a lot of thought went in to our decision to sell CAM Express. We truly believe that is the best CAM package for our customers. If you would like to learn more about CAM Express please contact us at