While many basic punch tools are round, square, rectangle, or obround shaped, you may have a tool for your machine that does not fit in these categories. If that is the case, you will want to create a Special Tool in SigmaNEST to represent the tool geometry. You can also use this method to create geometry for cluster tools.
Creating the geometry
The most important aspect of this processes is to accurately represent the punching surface/contour of the tool. This can be done by either drawing the tool's geometry in CAD or importing the tool from a DXF file or another format.
Note: Check with your tool manufacturer or provider to see if they have a drawing of the tool readily available. If not, then usually a PDF of tool dimensions can be obtained.
- Import or draw the geometry based on the specifications
- Provide a reference center point for the software and controller to use as the point to apply the tooling.
- This center point represents the center of the physical tool as it sits in the machine holder which may not necessarily be the center of the tool geometry.
It may be a good idea to use the dimension tools to check that the geometry was created accurately.
Also, make sure that the tool shape is drawn as it would appear at the tool’s 0-degree Position.
Creating the special tool file
- In the Workspace tab, click Tool Manager > Create Special Tool.
- (Optional) Remove any extra geometry or dimensioning because any entities you select will become part of the special tool shape.
- Select the geometry of the tool by drawing a window or click on each entity of the special tool geometry including the point.
- Right-click or click on the Done check mark.
- A window will appear where you can enter the desired name of the special tool.
This creates a Special Tool File (.STF) which is saved in the Tools folder of your SNData location and is ready to be added to your tool library. The Tools folder is also where cluster and tool pattern files are stored.
Creating the special tool in Tool Manager
- Open Tool Manager from the Workspace tab.
- Select the Special Tools tab and click New.
- On the left side of this window is a list of all the available geometry files for special tools. Find and select your new special tool from this list
- The shape you selected now appears in the preview box at the top right of the window. Clicking the tool geometry preview box will hide or show the geometry selection panel (when editing special tools this panel is hidden by default).
Fill out the correct parameters for tool name, description, holder size, usage, etc.
- At the lower left of the window is the Tool Edge Definition area consisting of a list of the tool shape edges and checkboxes
- These active edges are used with automatic and manual tooling functions to apply the tool to part contours.
- If you uncheck an edge, it is no longer available to automatic and manual tooling functions and will show as red in the tool preview graphic.
- The top right corner of the window also includes a box of options for Crush Zone Type. See Pre-Form Punching for more information.
- Click on the Miscellaneous tab to setup the avoid type, face type, etc. Make sure that you have a check mark in the Available box, otherwise you will not be able to load the tool into a turret.
- Use the Dies tab to set up any dies this tool may have by clearance or material thickness.
- Click OK to finish
Using your special tool
As with other tools, unless you are using global tooling, you will need to load the tool into your turret in the station where you use it at the machine.
Within SigmaNEST, the special tool will apply to geometry if it matches the tool. If for some reason Auto Tool will not place that special tool on the desired geometry, you should make sure that both the tool and part geometry are correct.