Question: In the November 2015 issue of the Technical Journal, you mentioned a new feature of S94P software version 2.3 that “will now enable use of the ShapeSoft feature on any system with a BeamDirector”. I am not familiar with ShapeSoft. Could you send me some information about it?
Answer: ShapeSoft™ is a LASERDYNE S94P exclusive utility that makes it easy to create standard types of shaped holes, including cone, oblique cone, fan, and racetrack shapes. ShapeSoft makes it easy to create macros for producing the various types of shaped holes by simply inputting information about the shape in a dialog box (see example below).
ShapeSoft™ Dialog Box
Once all of the information has been provided, clicking the ‘OK’ button will produce a line of code containing the macro.
Creation of a shaped hole with ShapeSoft involves a three-step process:
Step 1: A metering or pilot hole is drilled by either trepanning or percussion drilling, as specified in the ShapeSoft dialog box. The number of pulses used for creating the initial pierce if trepanned or for creating the hole if percussion drilled is specified directly or can be selected using the BreakThrough Detection (BTD) feature.
Step 2: The shape (for example, cone or fan) is machined or cut into the material.
Step 3: A final, clean-up pass is made to the metering hole to remove any material that may have accumulated in the metering hole during the shape creation process (step 2).
ShapeSoft allows for selecting process parameters for each of the three process steps. Parameters that can be specified are (1) the parameter database record to be used, (2) feedrate, and (3) dwell after the shutter is open before processing begins.
For the shape (step 2), the number of passes, or revolutions around the shape, to create the shape is also specified.
System motion is modified as required to machine or drill the shaped holes at whatever orientation of the BeamDirector or rotary/tilt tables. This allows a single shape and single macro to be repeated as many times as needed to produce the shape on a contoured, 3D surface.