Using SolidWorks text features for engraving letters into EDM electrodes...

Discussion in 'SolidWorks' started by Matt Schroeder, Jul 10, 2006.

  1. We're creating models of a finished tool that is to have protruding
    letters on it's working surface. The letters are .040-.060 high.

    We create these letters with the sketch fonts in SolidWorks. True type
    fonts being what they are, they create a stroke thickness, with no
    center line for a simple single pass tool cut on an engraver or mill.

    To get around this, our machine shop technician is creating centerlines
    in Gibbs for making single line milled slots for the letter strokes.
    Since most fonts have varying stroke thicknesses (for instance the
    Arial letter "S" gets thicker and thinner as you follow it's profile)
    we aren't getting exactly the part that is represented by the 3D model.

    This is not a cosmetic problem, but with it is a problem with regard to
    tolerances. The tool has features that lie in close proximity to the
    letters that when we lay them out with an Arial font, there is
    clearance to make the other tooling features, but when the hand
    interpolated centerline letters are created, those clearances are
    interferences in some cases.

    My questions are; What are others doing in this regard? Plastic
    moldmakers have to be doing similarly small letters. This is nothing
    new, but I'm curious what others are doing.

    Is the following possible with .040 to .060 high letters?:

    It's my opinion that we could do these on the milling machines we have,
    perhaps by chucking the very same engraving tool in the mill, and then
    actually treat each letter as a genterated slot in the CNC code. In
    other words, actually mill in the thickness of the letter strokes.

    Thanks for any insights.

    Apologies for the long post.

    --Matt Schroeder
    Matt Schroeder, Jul 10, 2006
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