Bend-Tech PRO was introduced with our assembly interface which has taken the market by storm. With a modest price of only $275.00 everybody can design and fabricate tubing like the pros.
Bend Tech spent countless hours observing and asking questions to our customers on how they would like to see PRO work. Our customers wanted the power but didn't want the learning curve and frustration that comes with a standard CAD system. We pealed back the pillars of standard CAD thinking and put together an interface that is logical beyond belief. Most customers are comfortable with full assembly design in less than 2 hours. Again don't let the learning curve fool you, customers are designing entire fabricated tube chassis the first night they sit down with the software.
The assembly interface consists of 3 primary functions.
- Full 3D assembly design
- Compete dimensioning
- Cutting instructions including fish-mouthing
At anytime during the design in PRO's assembly interface you can lookup the details of a part and print out entire manufacturing instructions. PRO uses your tooling and materials libraries so you are confident you can create what is being designed.
Bend Tech have put together an assembly tutorial which has very successfully been training our customers on how to use PRO.
PRO does have the assembly power, however, don't forget it includes the functionality of EZ-3D. So you will also receive 100% accurate cut lengths, bend angles and bend rotations. Don't forget about the simulation and the step-by-step graphical setup sheets. The Templates, Custom Part, and Custom 3D interfaces are all part of PRO.
The Assemblies PickPoints are the most used feature. These points are what we use to define our features for each part. You can locate a point in relationship to another point, create a point down a desired distance down a line or at a location where a line and a plane intersect each other. When a part is created, many PickPoints are automatically created. These include bend center points, tangents, perpendicular points and center point on the bend. Please note these are represented as the "cyan" color points in the below pictures.
The Assembly Main menu allows for creation, duplication and altering of parts. Part manipulation includes; copy, rotate, mirror, alter one feature and moving the entire part. You can create bent parts and straight parts by selecting PickPoints and parts can be imported from part files. You will find a "Master List" of parts at the top of the screen.
You are able to change the material and tooling to any part in Assembly. The color tab allows for changing the color of any tubes. The settings tab gives you default settings that can be changed. The part details tab provides part information and gives a method to send the bent parts over for manufacturing instructions.
The dimension tab provides several ways to dimension and assembly. Horizontal, vertical, linear and angular dimensions are all easily handled in the assembly interface. Almost every imaginable format can be used for the dimensions. The PickPoints come into play one more time as a way to easily apply the dimension locations.
The cutting tab provides a method to create a profile of the cutting. It will calculate the intersection of several tubes, different diameters, wall thickness and offsets. The documentation gives a vertical and horizontal calibration lines with distances from each other, end of the tube or from the nearest bend.
Custom 3D Part Interface:
Its time to jump out of the Assembly interface and show how single parts can be created and observe the manufacturing instructions that become available. After selecting Custom 3D Part from the list you will find our typical 4 view port window. The upper right corner is our "tabs" area. This allows for settings and manufacturing manipulation. The lower left corner is our "working" area. The lower right corner is the "shaded model" and the upper right corner is the "results" area.
The Custom 3D Part interface allows you to key in the features of your part in a sequence following the center line of the material. Most bends are entered in using the "apex" dimension type. Apex is the intersection of two straight tubes. You will find that a user can use different dimension types when you have bends of 180 degrees (use tangent).
We use terms that are easy to understand for direction control during the creation of the part. These terms are; left, right, front, back, ceiling and floor. If you are familiar with XYZ then the front is +X, back is -X, left is +Y, right is -Y, ceiling is +Z and floor is -Z.
This interface is incremental, which means we are looking for the distance from bend to bend. The numbers buttons above the input star are the bends, E stands for the end of the part.
As you are keying in the information into the Tri-Star fields the shaded model is instantly being created and the manufacturing instructions are automatically displayed. You will find your manufacturing information in the upper right had corner of the screen. The values available are Cut Length, Weight, bend Location, Rotation, Angle, Radius and bend Order.
Changing tools or material is as simple as pulling the tooling or material drop box down and select what is desired. Select the "print" command and 2 setup pages will come rolling out of your printer. The first page gives you the detail information to make the part and the 2nd will provide a cartoon strip of transitions showing you graphically how to load and bend your material.
Before we go any further allow us to cover some of the issues of the material and tooling library. The material library allows for diameter, wall thickness, weight and color. The software does display the tube as round stock, however, calculations for square, rectangular and all other shapes are available and 100% accurate. Bend-Tech has a few customers using it for sheet metal plate to help calculate the layout.
The Tooling library consists of CLR (radius), Calibrated CLR and Bend Location Offset.
The calibration is done with a simple to follow calibration interface. The calibration allows users to hold the tightest of tolerances. Customers using manual equipment will most often be able to get to a 1/32 of their target in the first try.
The Bend Location Offset defines the distance on some benders between the start of the bend and the reference location for lining up the bend marks.
Results are what we describe as the information available to you for manufacturing the tube. The "Cut Length" is the length to cut the tube to. The chart shows A, B, Location, Rotation and Angle. A is the design order, B is the bending order, Location is where to mark the tube for bending, Rotation is the amount to rotate the tube between bends and the Angle is the number of degrees to bend the tube.
"Cut Off" allows to add extra material to the end of the tube for post bending cutting. This is used largely for cutting to place one tube against another. In this example we added 2 to our value so the cut length grew by 4 and each bend was moved 2. We can change the "Decimal / Fraction" fields to allow for tolerances of 1/4 to 1/32 and decimal places from 0 to 0.000. In this example we changed the fractions to 1/32.
We have 3 settings which can be used for the dimension location; Start, End & Center. Typically a rotary draw bender will use start, a rotary compression bender will use end and a center compression will use center. In some cases, NC or CNC benders which are rotary compression will also use end because they locate off of the back side. You will also find an example of a center compression bender.
Some customers have been known to use the center choice for sheet metal fabrication. "Rotation" in our results window uses positive and negative numbers to represent clockwise or counter clockwise. Depending on which end of the machine you are standing on this can be very confusing, so we have given you the ability to reverse the sign to signify rotation direction.
Just when you thought all of the bases were covered, we are asked to flip the part in mid production. Below is an example of flipping the part end for end after the 3rd bend. Notice the bend order (labeled as "B" in the chart) has now flopped after the flip.
The values for the 4th and 5th bend have changed as well. This is because we are now providing the location values on the other end of the bend zone so when the part is flipped the correct end of the tube is marked. This allows for measuring from one end for the cut and all of the bend locations. We also have the ability to reverse the order of bending. This allows you to engineer the part from one end and start manufacturing from the other. The maybe need when your part will have interference with the machine, floor or other obstacle. At times by switching the bending order we can avoid these interferences. Refer to the simulation section to see this in action.
Custom Part Interface:
We create a part by starting at one end and entering in the lengths and angles for each bend. The dim type can be Apex or Tangent. Apex is the intersection of the 2 tube sides as if they have a zero radius and zero diameter (basically 2 lines).
This part shows the 180 degree bend using a tangent dimension and the 90 degree bend uses an apex dimensions. Note: a positive angle strokes counter clockwise and a negative angle dimension strokes clockwise.
All 3 of the parts are exactly the same. The first one shows using 2 apex dimensions, the second shows using 2 tangent dimensions and the last has 1 apex and 1 tangent dimension. In our case the CLR is 3.5
Now PRO's custom part has rotational input!!!. If you know your lengths, angles and rotations, this is the interface to use.
There are dozens of pre-defined templates to choose from. Most templates allow for center, outside and inside dimensions. While scrolling down the list of templates, they graphically show up in the window on the right.
The templates are read in from a secondary file. This allows us to periodically create new templates and have them available for download.
The below picture shows the values have been entered.
Notice how the input values can be fractions using the templates. For this part our cut length is 101 9/16 and our bend locations are 20 7/8, 36 15/16, 60 and 76. The results window can be in fractions with definable tolerances from 1/4 to 1/32 or use decimals up to 3 places.
Simulation was designed to help fabricators visualize the process before standing in front of the machine. This helps to determine the manufacturability of the part and the order in which we are bending it.
The simulation window works like a cd or tape player. You can have it run through the bending at the speed you desire, pause it, go frame by frame, etc..
As the simulation is taking place the results window shows the bend it is on with a green shaded box.