The Hidden Treasures of SOLIDWORKS Toolbox – Part 4

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This month, we took a deep dive look at some seldom discussed tools that are also a part of SOLIDWORKS Toolbox. The last of these tools we will look at is Cams. The tools will be visible in the Tools, Toolbox pull-down menu when the SOLIDWORKS Toolbox add-in is turned on.

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Cam – Setup

SOLIDWORKS Toolbox allows you to create two types of cams, circular or linear.

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The cams are created with fully-defined motion paths and follower types. You can even select the follower track as a blind cut or cut through the entire cam. The creation dialog box has a nice preview image to step you through the creation process.

To create a cam, select Cams from the Tools, Toolbox pull-down menu. On the Setup tab of the Cam dialog box, there are several cam properties that you have control over, such as units, cam type, and follower type.

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Circular Cam

For the Circular cam type, there a few specific parameters available. The first parameter is the Follower Type. The first choice is Translating, which moves along a line that passes through the center of cam rotation.

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Offset Left or Offset Right moves through a line that does not pass through the center of cam rotation. To determine the direction, look from the follower towards the center of cam rotation. When this follower type is chosen, you can specify an Offset Distance and Offset Angle.

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Swing Left or Swing Right swings about a pivot point. To determine the direction, look from the pivot point towards the center of cam rotation. When this follower type is chosen, you can enter an Arm Pivot X Offset, an Arm Pivot Y Offset, and an Arm Length.

 

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The next property you have control over is the Follower Diameter, which does exactly like it sounds like. It specifies the follower diameter, which is equal to the diameter of the groove that is cut in the cam.

The Starting Radius specifies the distance from the center of cam rotation to the center of the follower.

The Starting Angle specifies the angle between the follower and a horizontal line through the center of the cam. Note that if you select a Translating follower, you type an actual value for the angle. If you picked an Offset or Swing follower, then you are given two choices: Computed or Adjusted. Toolbox will automatically calculate the value for you when you pick Computed. If you want to enter a specific value, then select Adjusted and enter the value.

You are also given the ability to specify the Rotation Direction, either Clockwise or Counter Clockwise.

Linear Cam

For the Linear cam type, there a few specific parameters available. The first parameter is the Follower Type. The first choice is Translating, which moves perpendicular to the motion of the cam.

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Inclined moves at an angle (not perpendicular) to the motion of the cam. When this follower type is chosen, you can specify the angle between the follower and a line that is perpendicular to the motion of the cam. The Follower Angle value must be +/- 45°.

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Swing Trail or Swing Lead swings about a pivot point. To determine leading or trailing, compare the follower to the pivot point. If the follower trails the pivot point, it is a Swing Trail follower. When this follower type is chosen, you can enter an Arm Pivot X Offset, an Arm Pivot Y Offset, and an Arm Length.

 

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You can also specify the Follower Diameter, which is equal to the diameter of the groove that is cut in the cam.

The Starting Rise specifies the vertical distance from the base corner of the cam to the center of the follower.

The Starting Run specifies the horizontal distance from the base corner of the cam to the center of the follower. Note that if you select a Translating or Inclined follower, you type an actual value for the angle. If you picked a Swing follower, then you are given two choices: Computed or Adjusted. Toolbox will automatically calculate the value for you when you pick Computed. If you want to enter a specific value, then select Adjusted and enter the value.

Lastly, you can pick the Cam Motion direction, either Left or Right.

 

Cam – Motion

Once you have all of your Cam parameters setup, click on the Motion tab to create at least one cam motion definition. This specifies information about how your follower moves around the cam. The first thing you see are some read-only values that pull data over from the Setup tab. Depending on your cam type, you will see either the Starting Radius and the Starting Angle or the Starting Rise and the Starting Run.

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Click the Add button to add your first motion definition. In the Motion Creation Details dialog box, define a new motion definition by choosing a Motion Type.

If you have a Circular Cam, you will need to enter the Ending Radius, which is the distance from the center of cam rotation to the center of the follower when the motion definition is complete. Degrees Motion allows you to specify the distance the cam rotates through this motion definition.

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If you have a Linear Cam, then you will need to enter the Ending Rise, which is vertical distance from the base corner of the cam to the center of the follower when the motion definition is complete. Run Distance allows you to specify the distance the cam moves through this motion definition.

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Once all the parameters are set to your liking, click OK. You will notice that the Motion type is now on line 1 and that the Total Motion is displayed at the bottom. This is the sum of the values in the Degrees Motion column for Circular Cams or Run Distance column for Linear Cams.

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If you select row one, the other buttons in the dialog box are activated. With a row selected, use the Insert button to inserts a motion definition before an existing motion definition. If you need to make any changes, select the row and click the Edit button to modify an existing motion definition. The Remove button deletes the selected row whereas the Remove All button deletes all motion definitions.

 

Cam – Creation

Once you have your Motion setup, the Creation tab is next. The cam properties vary based on your cam type. You will see some read-only data, like the cam type and the number of motion definitions. The parameters are pretty straight forward.

Circular Cams

If you have a Circular Cam, you will need to specify the outside diameter of the circular cam and the thickness of the cam plate using Blank Outside Dia & Thickness. Next, specify the diameter of the hole and the distance from the cam surface to the top of the hub on the near side of the cam using Near Hub Dia & Length. The near side is where the cam is cut for a cam with a blind track surface. Far Hub Dia & Length specifies the diameter of the hole and the distance from the cam surface to the top of the hub on the far side of the cam. The far side is opposite the side where the cam is cut for a cam with a blind track surface. Blank Fillet Rad & Chamfer specifies the radius of the fillet between the hub and the cam surface and the value for the chamfer at the top face of the hub. Specify the diameter of the hole that goes through the hub using Thru Hole Dia.

Next, you specify the Track Type & Depth. Select either Blind, which allows you to type the depth of the cam track into the cam surface or Thru. (Don't forget: Depth cannot be greater than Blank Thickness.)

Resolution Type & Value specifies resolution type and value. Since cam tracks are comprised of arcs, curves, and lines where the points on the curve are calculated based on your selections on the Motion tab, you can control the resolution or tolerance between the points on these entities. You are given two choices: Chordal Tolerance and Angular Increment. The first one uses the maximum distance from the chord between two consecutive curve points and the curve itself. The second choice uses the maximum angle between two consecutive curve points.

Track Surfaces specifies how the cam track is created. You have three choices depending on your Track Type: Inner, Outer, or Both.

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If the Arcs check box is selected, then the cam track will be created using a series of tangent arcs. Otherwise, the cam track is created using a series of lines.

 

Linear Cams

If you have a Linear Cam, then you will need to specify the Blank Thickness, Blank Width, and Blank Length. Next, you specify the Track Type & Depth. Select either Blind, which allows you to type the depth of the cam track into the cam surface or Thru. (Don't forget: Depth cannot be greater than Blank Thickness.)

Resolution Type & Value specifies the maximum Motion Increment per motion definition.

Track Surfaces specifies how the cam track is created. You have three choices depending on your Track Type: Upper, Lower, or Both.

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If the Arcs check box is selected, then the cam track will be created using a series of tangent arcs. Otherwise, the cam track is created using a series of lines.

 

The last step is to click the Create button. Toolbox will create a new cam as a new SOLIDWORKS part document.

 

Favorite Cams

One last feature we will consider is the ability to use favorites to save and reuse your cam settings. Once all of your parameters are setup in the Cam dialog box, use the New button under Favorites to give your settings a name. Check the Template check box if you do not want to be prompted to save changes when using a favorite.

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To load your previously saved favorites, use the List button in the Cam dialog box. In the Favorites dialog box, select a favorite and click the Load button.

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The Cam dialog box will be updated with the data from the favorite. You have the option to modify any of your data. To save your changes to the favorite, click the Update button. Use the Edit button to edit the favorite's name and template option. Use the Delete button to remove a favorite.

 

We hope this series gives you an insight to the additional design tools available in SOLIDWORKS Toolbox.  Please check back to the CATI Blog as the Dedicated Support Team will continue posting new series of articles every month that go further into the details of many of the SOLIDWORKS tools. All of these articles will be stored in the category of Daily Dose…..of SOLIDWORKS Support and links to each article with their release date are listed below:

Neil Bucalo, CSWP, CSWS-MD
Computer Aided Technology, Inc.
www.cati.com