G-Wizard Tool Crib and Tool Tables

The G-Wizard Software family shares a core technology called the Tool Crib.  It allows you to create custom Tool Tables that capture the exact tooling you have available in your shop, on a particular CNC, or for use on a particular CNC Job.  The Tool Crib is shared among all the G-Wizard software you have installed via Shared Preferences.

[ Quick Start Tour of how to use the Tool Crib ]

The Tool Crib makes it easy for you to define the tools you actually own or perhaps that are in the toolchanger of your CNC:

The Tool Crib…

Select which tool table you’d like to use from the Table choice. “Default” is the one the Feeds and Speeds calculator will use for tool selection, so that’s a special table. If possible, make it the one that reflects the real tools in your changer or that you own. You can create new tables or delete tables. Eventually, you will associate tables with particular machines too, but this is not yet working.

To edit a tool in the table, simply select it and press the “Edit Tool” button. To create a new tool, press “New Tool”. To delete a tool, press “Del Tool”. The tools are saved when you exit G-Wizard to a settings file.

Integration with Feeds and Speeds Tab

As you are editing a tool, you can bring over the tool defined on the Feeds and Speeds tab by pressing the “From Feeds Speeds” button:

The Tool Crib’s Tool Editor…

Over on the Feeds and Speeds tab, if you want to choose from the Tool Crib “Default” Table instead of the generic list of tools, simply click on the “Crib” dropdown, choose a Tool Table, and the tool choices will be those of that tool table:

Capturing Manufacturer’s Data in the Tool Crib

The Tool Crib is an ideal place to capture Manufacturer’s Data for tooling you use so that you only need to enter it once.  The data is captured just the same as for the main Feeds and Speeds tab, so refer to our article on how to use Manufacturer’s Data for details.  Basically, you’ll create Tool Families and assign them to the various tools as needed.

Crib Wizard

The Crib Wizard is capable of automatically generating Tool Crib entries for endmills or twist drills in standard sizes.It’s accessed via a button on the Tool Crib:

CribWizBtn

The Crib Wizard button is located on the Tool Crib screen…

Clicking the button brings up the Crib Wizard:

CribWizard

The Tool Crib Wizard…

The Crib Wizard makes it easy to set up a Tool Crib with standard tools.  For example, the screen shot is set up to add tools in standard Imperial sizes from 0.1″ to 0.5″ in diameter.  It’ll add Carbide 4 flute endmills, and the comment will have not only a description of the tool, but the suffix “( Std Sizes)” as a reminder of what those tools are.  So the Crib looks like this after the “Add” button is pressed:

CribWizResult

Results after pressing the “Add” button on the Crib Wizard…

As you can see, the Crib Wizard adds to whatever was already there.  This makes it easy to go through and add different collections of tools.  Perhaps the sizes you want to stock for Imperial are in a smaller range than the metrics, for example.

Tool Table Import and Export for Mach 3 and other formats

People have asked for us to Export and Import Mach3’s tool tables for a long time, so we’ve provided it.  Just go into Setup Tool Crib, and use the Import/Export buttons.  Here’s what it looks like to import a table:

Mach3ToolImport1

After pressing “Import” you get the list of file formats we support…

After pressing “Import” you get the list of file formats we support.  Choose “Mach3 Tool Table (*.dat)”.  You’ll get the usual popup file open dialog.  Choose your file.  I’m just going to pick on the ubiquitous “tools3.dat” and bring that in:

Mach3ToolImport2

The gray bar shows where I deleted a bunch of space to bring the offsets to the left where they’re easier to see…

The Tool Crib now handles 4 offsets:  X Wear, Z Wear, X Geometry, and Z Geometry.  Mach3 only uses 3 of these (no X Geometry) and there’s some question about how useful the Wear offsets are based on how well tool compensation works, but mostly what’s needed is the Tool Length Offset or “Z Geom” value.

In this case, we can see a pretty normal Tool Table that has some interesting features.  There’s a Dial Indicator for setting Z = 0 on the part.  This is the master tool, and the Z Geom entries tell the machine how to adjust for their differing lengths once the Dial Indicator has been zeroed.

Some things to note:

–  This feature is still preliminary.  Give me your feedback on how you want to use it.

–  Mach3 Tool Tables only contain a few values.  The rest of the settings shown are just the defaults for our Tool Crib.  This means you’ll want to go in and define all the other settings when you do an import, and then you’ll want to strictly export from G-Wizard to Mach3 going forward.

–  The interesting offset info is WAY off on the right.  I know this is a pain and need to look into ways to make it easier to deal with.

–  Most of the time you’ll want to export to Mach3 as G-Wizard’s Tool Cribs capture a lot more information.

We will continue to refine the Tool Crib Import/Export over time.

G-Wizard Tool Crib and Tool Tables
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