If you're new to SigmaNEST, you're in the right place. This article covers commonly used terms and concepts that you'll hear during training and see when using SigmaNEST. Read on to get a head start in learning the basics.
Workspace, SNData Folder, Database
A Workspace is a collection of tasks, sheets, geometry, and parts. Think of it like a desk with all of your projects on it, all at once. When you save a workspace, you're also saving all parts, sheets, and tasks that are currently inside the workspace.
The SNData Folder contains many common SigmaNEST files, including your post processors, reports and report templates, standard shapes, parts, and workspaces.
The Database is an SQL database that you create during installation. It contains common data such as sheet information, materials, and the tool database.
The Technology Setup (sometimes called a TEC table) is where you set up your machine, material, and process defaults, and can be found in the Tools Help tab. Some of the things you can control here include:
- Materials - Physical material characteristics such as names, weights, material costs, shear, and machinability information
Machine Parameters - A section that divides all settings by machine. Within the machine parameters, you can edit the following information:
- Task Parameters - Defaults for new tasks
- Primary Tec - Machine-specific cutting parameters, such as kerf, pierce time, and feedrates.
- Leadin Lookup - Default leadin/leadout data
- Tabbing Lookup - Material/thickness-specific tab definitions
- Interference Lookup - Material/thickness-specific check interference parameters for nesting
- Depending on your machine, other tables such as Waterjet, Bevel Lookup, BHQ (high precision hole cutting), and Punch Parameters, may also be available
Parts and Sheets
The Parts List displays all parts that have been saved to the Parts folder. Here, you can copy, edit, move, and delete parts as needed. Whenever you save a part, the following information is saved with it:
- Part geometry
- Part parameters
- Part NC
- Router processes
The Sheet List displays all stock, consignment, reserved, and remnant sheets. Here, you can add, edit, import, export, and delete sheets. Whenever you save a sheet, the following information is saved with it:
- Sheet geometry
- Sheet name
- Heat number
- Material cost
A Nest is a single sheet or layout that contains parts which are arranged to maximize material usage. The act of nesting is placing the parts in this arrangement. This can be done automatically or manually using different functions and algorithms in SigmaNEST.
A Layout is a single unique nest inside of a task. A task can contain multiple layouts. One NC program is generated per unique layout in your task when you post (some layouts may be repeated).
A Task is a collection of layouts or nests that share a common machine, material, and thickness. You must create a new task or modify a current one before you can start nesting.
NC stands for Numerical Code and is frequently used as a verb for applying toolpath to a part. NC may also be used as a noun, as a more generic term for toolpath or tooling. So you might Apply NC to a part, or you could also simply NC a part. Both phrases mean the same thing in SigmaNEST.
Kerf or cutter compensation is the material that is removed by the width of a cutting tool or process (flame, jet, beam, punch, bit, etc). Kerf is typically measured in radius or diameter. Without proper kerf compensation, parts won't be cut correctly.
Programs and Posts
A Program is a file containing NC (numerical code) or machine specific G-code that is generated from SigmaNEST when you "post" layouts from a task. Saving a program saves only the machine code within the file. The file extensions for a posted program depend on the machine controller, but some common ones include .nc, .cnc, .lst, and .txt.
The act of Posting is what generates the program that will run on your machine controller. You will post a program after you have applied NC, from the Nesting NC tab.
A Post Processor or Post is a file written specifically for your machine controller. You can think of it as a "translator" that interprets the code produced by SigmaNEST into the "language" of your controller. See What is a post processor? to learn more.
Other common terms
Markup Costs are increased part costs based on quantities (for example, increasing costs by 10% for a part quantity of 100 or more). These can be modified through the Technology Setup.
Production Costs are shop, machine, or process-specific costing information. These costs are directly related to the cutting time, number of pierces, and/or cutting length for a given job. Additional cost parameters and custom equations can also be defined. Production costs can be modified through the Technology Setup.
A Pack and Send is a compressed file containing things like your workspace, settings, post processors, and database. If you're having difficulty with a specific setup or workspace, the Support team may ask you to use this function to share your setup for easier troubleshooting.