One week before my first assigned job using the software, I was given a copy of NX 8.0 to practice and get a feel for the program. I began with introductory tutorials which came with the program. Though not completely aware of the full potential and all the different aspects of the program, I was quick to realize that this software was vastly different than anything I had used in the past. Design-wise, NX has the modeling ease of Solidworks and the complexity of Catia. Machine-wise, I was able to use NX to program efficient tool paths much quicker then I was able to do with MasterCam.
My initial thoughts of NX: impressed and excited to see what else I could learn and accomplish with such ease. The first challenge I tackled was learning all the different navigator tabs.
I quickly learned that the majority of my time would be spent in the “Operations Navigator”, switching between the different sub menus, primarily Program order view, Geometry view, and Machine tool view. A great time-saving tip I found to be extremely helpful was the setting up of hot keys for quick access to these views. I was amazed at the amount of information that could be set in the program order view: a user can set up columns to display information on everything from the type of geometry and orientation that the tool path was using, to speeds and feeds. Essentially, any information you would want to see while organizing your tool paths could be set in this view. In the geometry view, I could easily see the orientation that the tool paths were using. The expandable tree display allowed me to condense or expand the trees depending on what information I decided to focus on at different times. In the Machine tool display, I was able to see what tool paths any particular tool was using.
I found that combining parts into assemblies is very easy using NX. The user simply finds the “add component” button, or the “command finder” button (generally located at the top of the screen), and types in the command you are trying to do, or even just the function you are trying to achieve. Once you have imported the proper part into your file, you can use the “move component” function to place it in the correct location. Once you start importing different parts into your assembly, make sure that the next time you open your assembly in NX, you set “Assembly load options” to the correct folder or search folder so that NX will be able to properly reconstruct your file.
Despite my initial uncertainty, I consider my first week a success. I was able to take advantage of a range of NC programming capabilities. I have reached my first milestone with the confidence necessary to continue moving forward and with a clearer view of what to expect with NX.