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GibbsCAM Post Processing Solutions
A Post Processor (post) is required to create the NC G-code file needed to run your NC or CNC machine. The post converts a GibbsCAM VNC file part program into the correct format for a specific machine tool/controller combination. There are multiple choices available for obtaining and implementing a machine specific post processor for GibbsCAM. Each option has benefits and limitations that should be reviewed prior to making a decision as to which method is best for your specific post processor needs. Your choices are: 1. Create your own post processor(s) using PostHASTE for GibbsCAM. 2. Purchase the Gibbs APT CL output option. 3. Purchase a Gibbs Post Processor(s). Note: Each of these posting solutions, although integrated with GibbsCAM, do not work with each other. For example, a Gibbs Post developed with the Gibbs Post Development Tool cannot be edited using the PostHASTE software, and vice versa.
PostHASTE for GibbsCAM
PostHASTE for GibbsCAM is a generic, do-it-yourself post processing option included with GibbsCAM at no additional cost. PostHASTE is the post development tool of choice for users who are satisfied with longhand G-Code output and have 2- or 3-axis CNC machines. PostHASTE allows a CNC programmer, who is familiar with CNC machine G-Code and with their CNC machines, to create their own post processors. Using the PostHASTE documentation and template files provided, most users can create a post processor with minimal special skills or training. Approximately 225 standard PostHASTE template files are provided with PostHASTE for basic 2- and 3axis mills and lathes, with upgrade options available for mill/turn, rotary mill and advanced mill posts. With PostHASTE, you select the most appropriate template file, and make modifications to get the correct output for your machine. PostHASTE will only generate longhand (no subroutines or subprograms) NC output. When using PostHASTE, you, the Gibbs customer, are responsible for making the appropriate changes to the template file to create correct, accurate and valid output for your machine. Note:The Gibbs Post Department cannot modify or enhance a PostHASTE template file, as they work exclusively on Gibbs Posts.
APT CL Output Option
The Gibbs APT CL option provides a method for integrating GibbsCAM with industry standard APT-based post processors, commonly used with large integrated CAD/CAM systems. The Gibbs APT CL option creates ANSI NCITS 37-199 and ISO 4343 CLDATA standard files. This option is a good choice for customers who want to continue to use their existing APT-based post processors or want to use a 3rd
party APT post processing system. The GibbsCAM APT CL configuration file may need to be customized, at an additional cost, to provide full compatibility with an existing APT post processor.
Gibbs Posts are optimized to provide the most complete and efficient NC output available. They are the post processor of choice by GibbsCAM users who prefer optimized output, instead of simplicity of post creation. Gibbs has an extensive library, including thousands of Gibbs Posts, for many different types of machines and styles of coding. Gibbs Posts support nested subroutines, canned cycles, multiple part fixtures, and many other advanced capabilities to make sure that the G-code is the best, most efficient output for a specific machine and CNC control. Gibbs Posts provided by Gibbs ensure that what is displayed in GibbsCAM is what is cut on the CNC machine tool. Gibbs Posts are created using the Gibbs Post Development Tool by a qualified Gibbs Post developer. Gibbs Post developers are typically Gibbs employees or Gibbs Resellers with extensive training and expertise in Gibbs Post development. In some cases, customers with extensive posting requirements, who are willing to make the investment in developing their own post processors, have licensed the Gibbs Post Development Tool and taken the requisite training class in order to develop and maintain their own Gibbs Posts.
Acquiring a Gibbs Post
Types of Gibbs Posts
There are three different types of Gibbs Posts: Library Posts, Custom Posts, and MTM Posts.
Gibbs Library Posts
Library posts are those previously built to the specifications of an existing customer. Currently Gibbs has over 6000 Library Posts, that are available for purchase "as is" without modifications. Gibbs Library Posts are available for 2- or 3-axis mills and lathes, as well as Mill/Turns, Rotary Milling, and Advanced Mill for 4- and 5-axis rotary positioning.
Gibbs Custom Posts
Custom Posts are modified from Library Posts, or built as new posts, to your specifications. Custom Posts are available to support all GibbsCAM options, including; 2- or 3-axis Mill, Rotary Mill, Advanced Mill (4- and 5-axis rotary positioning), TMS, ProAXYZ 4as/5as (4- and 5-axis simultaneous rotary milling), 2-axis Lathe, Mill/Turn with, or without, milling options (Rotary Milling, and ProAXYZ 4as/5as), and Renishaw Productivity+. GibbsCAM Custom Posts are guaranteed to create edit-free code. Customization is billed at an hourly rate with a not-to-exceed price based on the GibbsCAM options supported. Custom Posts can be upgraded to include additional options at any time. The Gibbs Post Department can provide quotes for many typical customizations and standard upgrades. Note: "Edit free" means not requiring manual edits to correct poor quality posted output. There may be other reasons a GibbsCAM user chooses to edit his G-code.
Gibbs MTM Posts
MTM Posts are required for use with the GibbsCAM MTMTM (Multi-Task Machining) option. An MTM Post package includes expert consulting for machine research and post specification, as well as custom GibbsCAM capabilities to match your machine. MTM Posts raise the bar on post processor complexity and sophistication to the point that Gibbs builds them through a different procedure from the posts listed above. This procedure begins with an MTM expert researching your machine specifics, and advising you on your feature choices. If you are not expert on your MTM machine, we will research its specifics with the machine tool reseller and manufacturer. This info is passed to an MTM Post developer who ultimately produces a post package that is a very precise match for your MTM machine. An MTM post package includes an MTM post processor, a custom MDD (Machine Definition Document) and a VMM.dll (Virtual Machine Macro). The MDD is an exact physical description of your machine, its tools, spindles and its axes. It is used by GibbsCAM to offer appropriate functionality. A VMM is computer software that customizes GibbsCAM for your specific machine. An MTM post package literally produces a custom version of GibbsCAM for you with which to program your machine. MTM post development is a fixed price based on the number of axes and work piece spindles the machine has. This fixed price covers creation and delivery of a "valid" MTM post. A "valid" MTM Post supports all applicable GibbsCAM MTM capabilities, and produces efficient G-code output that does not require editing to run properly. This fixed price includes limited cosmetic customization requests. Change requests, which are cosmetic in nature and do not affect the ability of the MTM machine to produce a good part, will be quoted over and above the MTM post's base price.
Gibbs Library PostsThe Normal Process:
1. You purchase a Library Post. You fill out the post order form with the control make and model, along with the CNC machine make and model. You provide a "good" sample G-code program that functions correctly and is in a format that you like. 2. Gibbs provides one, or several, Library Posts that fit this description, depending on availability from the Gibbs Post Library. 3. You create one or more sample part programs in GibbsCAM (you may use the tutorial parts), and post process them using each of the provided Library Post(s). You select the specific Library Post you wish to use, and discard the rest.
Gibbs Custom PostsAddressing Your Specific Needs:
If a Gibbs Library Post that satisfies your needs cannot be found, or if you require modifications to a Library Post, you need a Gibbs Custom Post. Your options for obtaining a Custom Post are: 1. Purchase the changes you desire from Gibbs by ordering a Custom Post. A Custom Post is billed at an hourly rate, with a not-to-exceed price based on the GibbsCAM options supported. Contact Gibbs Sales Department for a quote. 2. Purchase the changes you desire from a Gibbs Reseller. This is also a Custom Post, just from another source.
3. Purchase the Gibbs Post Development Tools, get trained, and make the changes yourself. Most customers are best served by having the necessary changes done for them by an expert. Whenever Custom Post work is being performed for you by Gibbs, whether it is a few simple modifications or an entirely new post, very similar steps are followed: 1. You provide a clear specification of all the desired changes. With an existing post processor, the best way is to take a G-code .NCF file that was generated by GibbsCAM with the post processor and read it into Microsoft Word, turn "Track Changes" on, and edit your desired changes into the NCF file. Next best is to clearly mark up with a pen a printed copy of posted output from an existingpost processor. Provide these markups along with providing the ".VNC" file (theGibbsCAM part program file) that created the output. For a new post processor, a good sample program is essential. Sample programs should contain examples of all important cycles, functions, and tool changes. It is a good idea to "lend" a programming manual for the machine to Gibbs, if Gibbs does not have one on file. It will be returned to you on completion of the Custom Post. 2. Gibbs performs the work and provides the first version of the Custom Post for your review. 3. You review/test the Custom Post provided. This is a necessary step. Some Custom Posts pass their first review. Many require one or more additional edit/review cycles. 4. Gibbs makes any identified corrections and returns the updated Custom Post to you, returning to Step #3 above. This cycle repeats until you are satisfied, usually 2 or 3 times. If an error is found at some later date, it will be corrected at no charge provided you are on Maintenance. If you change your mind about the post processor's requirements during this work phase, you will be delaying its completion and may be increasing the final cost of your Custom Post. Note: Gibbs Custom Posts are invoiced for payment upon their first delivery. They come with unlimited warranties to customers current on Maintenance. The warranty covers post processor functionality only, not future customer desired cosmetic customizations.
Gibbs MTM Posts
1. A Gibbs MTM researcher will contact you and provide you with a detailed questionnaire for each different MTM machine you are ordering a post for. He will also ask you for sample programs, a manual to borrow, and the contact information of the machine tool distributor from which you purchased the MTM machine. Good sample programs are essential. Sample programs should contain examples of all important cycles, functions, and tool changes. If you are not expert with your MTM machine (and many customers are not), the Gibbs MTM researcher will obtain information from the machine tool reseller and/or the machine tool builder with your assistance for introductions. Note: If you cannot lend Gibbs the machine programming manual, and if Gibbs does not have one on file, Gibbs may have to purchase a manual set at your expense. 2. Many aspects of programming vary from machine to machine, based on different options, different control parameter settings, and shop programming practices. The MTM researcher will review your MTM questionnaire with you, explaining your customization choices, commenting on your selections,
and recommending those functions that Gibbs has found users to need. Many new users are not expert with GibbsCAM yet, and can use this help to make the best choices. 3. The MTM researcher will construct one or more GibbsCAM MTM VNC files to use for acceptance testing of the post processor. 4. The task of building your MTM Post Package will be assigned to a Gibbs MTM Post developer. It will undergo a review with the post developer, the MTM researcher, and the MTM product manager, to ensure that the GibbsCAM MTM capabilities will properly support the customer's desires for the posted output and the use of the machine. The first priority is the quality and validity of posted output. Customer "cosmetic" wishes will be reviewed carefully. They may not be valid, they may interfere with MTM functionality, they may be outside the scope of possible MTM customizations (which are different from non-MTM post customizations), or they may be outside the scope of the MTM customization work covered by the MTM flat price. 5. Gibbs performs the work and provides the first version of the MTM Post Package for your review. 6. You review/test the MTM Post Package provided. This is a necessary step. Most MTM Posts will require additional edit/review cycles. 7. You will need to provide any desired changes. The best way is to open your G-code NCF file in Microsoft Word, turn "Track Changes" on allowing us to readily identify what changes you make, and edit your desired changes into the NCF file. Next best is to clearly mark up, with a pen, a printed copy of posted output from an existing post processor. Provide these markups along with the VNC file (the GibbsCAM part program file) that created the output. 8. Gibbs makes the corrections and returns the updated MTM Post Package to you, returning to Step #6 above. This cycle repeats until you are satisfied, normally 2 or 3 times. If an error is found at some later date, it will be corrected at no charge provided you are on Maintenance. If you change your mind about the post processor's requirements during this work phase, you will be delaying its completion and may be increasing the final cost of your MTM Post. Note: Gibbs MTM Posts are invoiced for payment upon their first delivery. They come with unlimited warranties to customers current on Maintenance. The warranty covers post processor functionality only, not future customer desired cosmetic customizations.
Tips for Success with Gibbs Custom and MTM Post Development
1. Define all your needs in the initial post processor information package (the marked up G-code programs, sample programs and machine programming manuals). Adding requirements during post development, or changing your mind will result in delayed completion of your Custom Post and potentially increase the cost. 2. Provide the necessary sample programs and programming manuals as soon as possible. Machine model specific brochures are helpful as well. If you are not providing this information, you can still assist by helping us get the attention of the machine reseller or manufacturer that
is. Work time on Custom/MTM Posts is not scheduled until the pre-requisite information has arrived at Gibbs. 3. Schedule sufficient time with your in-house staff to perform the necessary post reviews and work with the Gibbs post developers to achieve the best possible post for your use. 4. Feel free to call or e-mail the Gibbs Post Development staff to discuss the progress on your post. Good communication is important to produce the best post in the shortest amount of time. We recommend using e-mail. In addition to e-mail for regular communication, we send out new post processors and receive post problem information by e-mail. This can save days on shipping, and delays through missed phone calls. Use [email protected] for any post-related request or question. 5. You should remain enrolled in the Gibbs Software Maintenance Program to ensure you have the most current version of GibbsCAM software. Gibbs only maintains the capability to work on post processors for the current version of GibbsCAM. By working together as a team, Gibbs can provide you with what you need, high-quality post processors that work well, produce efficient G-code exactly corresponding to what is displayed in GibbsCAM, and requiring no G-code editing.