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HSMAdvisor Workflow Overview

April 25, 2021, 10:59 pm by Eldar Gerfanov (Admin)

As a software developer, I am always looking for quality feedback on my software and ideas.
Sometimes it is useless like "speeds and feeds are wrong" or "my cutters are breaking" without explaining what they think is wrong. 
However, the feedback is often thorough and helps propel HSMAdvisor development by miles ahead in a very short time frame.

Here is the HSMAdvisor workflow step-though by our user Jake. He posted on the support forums as an answer to another user's question. And I thought it was so good, I asked his permission to post it on the HSMAdvisor website Help section:

I've been using HMSA for about 3 years now (maybe more) and have running it down to a pretty quick science.

If I need to create a new tool I do the following:

Press reset, select tool type and fill in all parameters as accurately as possible. I click the DOC and WOC labels to set them back to default then I press the "Add Tool" button. This will bring the naming/inventory box up. I only ever fill in the the "Comment" field as this is what the tool database uses to search for tools. Once this is done I click the save button. I use multiple databases (Flat End Mills, Radius End Mills, Jobber Drills, etc) to keep thing a little more organized in my head, however this is absolutely NOT can have 1 giant library if you want. I never delete a tool once it is defined. This makes it SUPER fast to toss a tool into a holder and get some quick feeds/speeds by just searching for the tool. It also allows me to go back and search for a tool that I have used in the past. If it is in my HSMA library, it is most likely in one of the many places tools end up hiding in my shop.

If you have the tool saved it is as simple as pressing the "Load Tool/Cut" button. Once your tool database has popped up you can simply start typing and it will find any tools with a "Comment" that matches what you have entered. It's really fast and works really well once you get used to the steps...I can type in "3/8" and get every 3/8 endmill I've ever run to come up on the screen. To make this easier on myself I always include the decimal size as well (I run quite a few regrinds) so I can type in "0.3425" and it will bring up that particular end mill instantly.

Now that your tool is defined and saved you are ready to get some cutting data. If you pick the materials list drop-down you are able to type your material in to do a quick search. I work with 6061, 7075, A2, D2, some CPM, and some plastics. All of them have come up without fail by just starting to type the material designation into the drop-down bar. Once your material is selected you can start entering cutting parameters. I pretty much always enter a DOC and then click the label for WOC to get the recommended width for the depth I am taking. I can then take this WOC value and tweak it until I max out my MRR using a combination of HSM and Chip Thinning. If I need to helix into a pocket I bring up the Circle/Ramp calculator. It is rather self-explanatory, however, you need to make sure you enter your ramp angle every time. It doesn't save a default and can give you a wonky plunge rate if you aren't careful to get the right data entered. If your pocket is going to be larger than 2xD of your tool I just enter the diameter that it will cut during the ramp. Something like 195% of the tool diameter so as to not leave a nub in the center. I also lock the spindle speed and plunge spindle speed so they are the same. I used to use different speeds for them however my machine has a gearbox that doesn't shift from low to high reliably while running a program.

Next, I verify all the green/red bars are in the "safe zones." I leave the deflection/torque sliders at the default of 70%. With long end-mills, I tend to back down the deflection limit and lower the speed slider significantly.

Finally, I can take the calculated values from the top right box and enter them into Mastercam. I tried to set up the integration between HSM and MCAM years ago but it kinda shoehorned the functionality of HSMA from my standpoint. I use 2 monitors and leave HSM on one and MCAM on the other so I can bounce back and forth. If you only have 1 monitor there is a button for a "Floating Feed/Speed" window that will stay on top of MCAM and allow you to get the data moved without tons of switching programs on a single screen.

So that's the basic workflow I use for HSMA and MasterCam. It is not a perfect system but it is really quick. I can grab a tool I have defined in the past, select material, type in DOC, and have workable numbers to start from. It takes about 10 seconds....this program works exactly like my brain does.... it's almost weird how natural it feels.

Sorry if this is an overwhelming post on a necro thread, it is so much harder to explain how to use the software than it is to just....use the software. lol.


Programming Lesson: 304 Stainless on Low-Power Mill

June 12, 2016, 11:17 pm by Eldar Gerfanov (Admin)

One of HSMAdvisor users asked me for help figuring speeds and feeds for machining stainless on his underpowered Tormach 700.
He volunteered to send me a model to work on, so I decided it was a good opportunity to make a learning video and share it with everybody.

I must say programming for such a low-power machine is a lot harder than for a full-blown production VMC where you are not worried about stalling your machine with anything under 1" in diameter:

Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.

We are actually listening to our users!

Hi-Feed Milling at 600 ipm!

April 8, 2016, 10:19 pm by Eldar Gerfanov (Admin)

Latest advances in tool technology make milling of high carbon and tool steels as reliable and predictable as benign aluminium alloys.

In this video a large 4140 steel component is being roughed out at 2700RPM and 600 inches per minute.
While achieving  impressive material removal rate (20 pounds of steel machined off in a matter of half an hour!) the tool life puts the old school square shoulder endmills to shame.

Yes, it could(and should) have been machined using a bigger cutter, but I wanted to put the tool to the test.
And it performed beautifully: Was able to surpass the recommended starting speeds and feeds by at least 170%!

It is a 1" dia 5 flute Tungaloy DoFeed hi-feed cutter that Tom Muller (Toronto Tungaloy tool rep.) set me up with.
I bumped into him the other day at the office. He recognized me as one of his LinkedIn contacts and asked me how it was going (I do envy people's ability to have such a good memory for faces). At the time I was programming the steel component you see on the video and asked Tom if he had anything that would help us effectively remove the bulk of material.

Turns out we had one of his amazing feed-mills all along. So he suggested starting cutting parameters (which were very much in line with HSMAdvisor's recommendations) and even waited until I finish setting up a test cut to make sure the endmills work as advertised.

The next day I had more time to play with it and found out that the cutter appeared a lot quieter at slightly shallower DOC (0.030" versus 0.035") and a much higher cutting speed and feed rate (0.044" per tooth versus 0.028).

I also was able to use a much higher cutting speed than recommended because the mfg's recommendations (unlike HSMAdvisor) do not consider the actual alloy but a wide group it belongs to. So the speeds tend to be in the middle of the road (too high for tough stuff. too slow for mild one).

Here you can see the screenshot of the HSMAdvisor's calculation I used to make the cut:

As I saved the tool into the HSMA database, I also saved this successful cut, so that there is no need to guess the next time when using this wonderful tool.

Back to the question of tool life: After about 30 minutes in the cut I did not see any (and I mean ANY) wear on the cutting edges.

At this rate we can easily get 6 hours of cutting edge life!

Some more photos:

By the way. If you are using a Speed and Feed calculator other than HSMAdvisor, does its developer have access to real manufacturing equipment to continually cross-check the data his calc outputs with reality?

HSMAdvisor's does!

MasterCAM x9 Lesson: Simple Contouring. Speeds and Feeds, Depth of Cut

December 18, 2015, 12:11 pm by Eldar Gerfanov (Admin)

I personally use HSMAdvisor at work every day and trust its results 100%

I have to say my program now knows about machining more than i do. I certainly can not remember cutting speeds and feeds, reduction factors, depth of cut and a ton of other information for every material I have ever cut.

Now add to that the various possible combinations of tool/material/coating and it becomes a no brainier, that a good speed and feed calculator like HSMAdvisor saves a ton of time and money by improving your tool life and productivity.

It is not only good for HSM (High Speed Machining) but also for general machining, drilling tapping, you name it.

The algorithms it employs are far superior to what other calculators are using. Take for example the real-time depth of cut/deflection optimization, that other calculators do in a separate window and take a few seconds to complete.

Here is a quick video lesson where i show the steps involved in creating a simple contouring toolpath in MasterCam x9:

And here is the video of machining the actual part:

A Quick Video walk through HSMAdvisor Tool Inventory Control Feature

November 27, 2015, 8:44 pm by Eldar Gerfanov (Admin)

Tool Inventory Control has been added to HSMAdvisor as a free feature for our customers.

Here is a quick video explaining how to use this new feature.

Should you have any questions or recommendations please let me know via email or support forums.

Tool Inventory Advisor: Workflow Overview

November 9, 2015, 10:04 pm by Eldar Gerfanov (Admin)

TiAdvisor (Tool Inventory Advisor) is a new feature under development within HSMAdvisor.

Unlike most cases when developers design a standalone product and then go through a laborious work of integrating it into existing software products, i decided to go the other way.

TiAdvisor will be developed as an integral part of HSMAdvisor and then, once complete, will be moved into a separate standalone product. This will make for seamless integration between our software products.

What TiAdvisor does

  • Keeps track of inventory levels.
  • Automatically add tools that are low in stock to Purchase Request List
  • Generate and print Purchase Request form
  • Add tools to stock when they are received

More functions are being worked on.

Download TiAdvisor bundled with HSMAdvisor over here:

TiAdvisor Workflow

Specify Stock quantity and "Min Stock Qty" to to allow TiAdvisor warn you when number of tools in stock gets below the Min value:

Or click on "Add Tool To Request" to directly add the tool to a future Purchase Request:

When there are any tools on the current unfinished Request Order a red flag will show up on the status area prompting you to create a Purchase Request:

Click on the Red flag and in the new window enter the number of tools you want to order into the "Request" column:

 After you enter the number of tools, please click "Create Purchase Request Form" button.

It will take you to a form that will let you specify details about the request you are making.
You can specify handling information, company logo, etc:

Click on "Export Purchase Request" button to preview and print out your request when you are satisfied with how it looks:

To Finalize your Request and set those tool items into "Waiting for Delivery" mode click "Save Request" button.
You can Now close the window by pressing Cancel button.

You can see the tools, that are waiting for delivery by clicking on the Yellow flag in the status area:

When Any or All of the tools are received you should enter the received amount into "Received" column and then to finalize the operation click "Apply Received to stock".
This will add the Received amount to the stock and subrtract from the "On Request" amount.


Quick Video: Figuring the best Depth and Width of Cut with Performance Slider

September 26, 2015, 11:25 am by Eldar Gerfanov (Admin)

Proper machining depth and width of cut are just as important as proper Speeds and Feeds. 

This is not only importanttant for professional machinists, who are machining on the edge of their tooling and setup capability, but also for hobbyists, who often face limits from the machine rigidity side of the equation.

HSMAdvisor Speed and Feed calculator has a unique tool used for figuring the best engagement values for each particular cut you are making.

It is called Performance Slider. And it adjusts expected load on the tool and machine depending on your preferred machining mode.

Check out this video I made that explains Performance Slider' functionality:

The. First. Ever. HSMAdvisor hook for MasterCAM X9

August 2, 2015, 7:06 pm by Eldar Gerfanov (Admin)

The First Ever HSMAdvisor Speed and Feed Wizard hook for MasterCAM has been released today for everybody to download for free.

Getting it to this stage has been a titanic effort for me and I am going to put a lot more of it in the coming months: i need to get it to pretty much perfect state before i start forgetting how i did all those things.

Because of this each update i release will extend trial period by 30 days.

This will last for as long as needed to finish the bulk of developing it.

At this moment the following toolpaths are fully recognized:

  • Face Mill
  • Contour
  • Pocket
  • Drilling
  • Circle Mill
  • All 2D HST Toolpaths:
    Dynamic Milling
    Dynamic Area
    Blend Mill
    Peel Mill

The only exception is: Coolant parameters are getting lost somewhere in the process. So please double check it before posting!

Things to be added in the coming days/weeks/months:

  1. Fix Coolant
  2. Engraving
  3. Other Circular Toolpaths such as ThreadMilling etc.
  4. Conventional and HST 3D Toolpahs
  5. Turning

If you have any suggestions or find any bugs please let me know.

I would like to reassure my current customers that HSMAdvisor Hook is/will be included with your license once this all is set and done.

Please help me with your suggestions/bug reports make this thing even better for all of you!

Here are the latest 2 videos i uploaded to my Youtube chanel

Setting up HSMAdvisor hook:

Calculating cutting parameters for Face Milling, Saving Tool and Cut data and recalling it when needed:

Cheers. And a huge "thank you" to everyone who has been supporting me!

Exporting/Importing Machine Definitions to and from HSMAdvisor

September 19, 2014, 10:23 pm by Eldar Gerfanov (Admin)

In the latest update to HSMAdvisor i have added Machine Definition Import and Export.

To bring a new machine in to the active machine list

  • Click on "Edit" button next to machine list on FSWizard screen
    Machine Definition manager opens up and there you click on "Import" button.
  • A standard windows file-open dialog appears prompting you to select a file that contains the machine you wish to import.
  • After selecting a file and pressing OK, you will be asked to choose which machine you would like to import from the file.
    This is necessary as each file may contain many definitions.

To Export a machine or many to an outside file

(to share it with your friends, coworkers, or maybe even me)

  • Click on "Edit" button next to machine list on FSWizard screen
    Machine Definition manager opens up and there you click on "Export" button.
  • A dialog appears where you are prompted to choose which machines from your current list you would like to export.
  • After choosing your machines, click OK and select a file where you would like to save your machine list.

I know you guys have created your own machines for your self.

If you could use this new feature and send me your machines, that would be super sweet!

You can also upload them onto our support forums by creating a thread.
If there will be enough interest i will create a forum sub-category where users would be able to share their machines with each other.

A little "Personal Touch" - i made a typo in the Export Machines window' title!

Manufacturer-Recommended Speeds and Feeds in HSMAdvisor

July 12, 2014, 3:34 pm by Eldar Gerfanov (Admin)

One of the latest additions to HSMAdvisor speed and feed calculator is the ability to set manufacturer-recommended speeds and feeds for work-piece materials and groups of materials.

Here is a YouTube video walk-through showing how to add S&F tables into the program

HSMAdvisor uses Brand Name and Series Name to assign speed and chipload tables to tools.

A new "Speed and Feed Source" (S&F Source) indicator has been added to quickly tell user which speed and feed table is being used right now.

In all there are 3 possible S&F Sources are available:

Automatic Material Material Group
Speeds and Feeds are suggested by generic internal data tables and calculations. Speeds and feeds are suggested by User-specified tables specific for this particular material Speeds and feeds are suggested by User-specified tables specific for this particular material group

Here is how you can create a Manufacturer-Recommended Speed and Chipload table from scratch

  1. Dial in your tool data in FSWizard Tab
    Set as much information as possible. Such as Coating, Tool material, Number of flutes etc.
  2. Add tool to any Tool Library
    Click "Add Tool" Button

    Among other fields specify Brand Name and Series fields

    If you click on Speeds and Feeds tab, you will notice that it is not available until you add the tool to the library

    So we simply click Add button to create the tool.
  3. Edit the newly-created tool Record
    Click on Speeds and Feeds tab and you will notice that now it is available for edit:

    Select "Custom Speeds and Feeds" switch box (1)
    Select Material or Material Group for which you will be adding custom tables
    Edit Cutting Speed (2) field to match you manufacturer recommendation
    Edit Chipload table or click "Generate Sizes" (3) button to generate a new table
  4. Use "Generate Sizes" Wizard to create a chipload table:
    Here is a sample chipload table for some Hanita tool series supplied by the tool manufacturer:
    (I know this is not VariMill Tool, Neither this chipload table is for Stainless steel)
    After clicking "Generate Sizes" button a series of questions will be asked to quickly add this data to the tool table
    You will be asked to enter the minimum diameter of the cutter you see on the table. Which is 0.25 in this case

    Then you will need to give the largest diameter. Which is 1.0"

    Then it will ask you for Diameter step size. In this case we can use 0.125" step size and then add the chipload for 5/16 endmill manually:

    Enter Minimum Chipload you see for this material under minimum diameter on the table:

    Enter Maximum Chipload for this material that you find under the biggest tool in the table:

    As a result you will get a table that matches your manufacturer recommended values.
    You can also modify, add and delete rows from the table to make minute adjustments:

  5. After you are satisfied with how things look click Save button to apply the changes

Now whenever you load this tool (or any other tool with the same Brand and Series Name) and calculate speeds and feeds for this material, you will get a green icon telling you that those speeds and feeds were suggested by the manufacturer.

Very Important Note:

It is VERY important to consider, however, that manufacturer-recommended speeds and feeds WILL only be true for depths of cut suggested by them.

So what you will need to do before you move on, is to fiddle the "Performance" Slider to get default DOC and WOC (green colour of the fields) in the range suggested by the manufacturer.

In the end:

This is only a preliminary phase for custom speeds and feeds.

Later on i will add ability to create multiple tool records using custom chipload table as the source for the tool diameters.

As usual your feedback is very welcome.


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