Using the HSMWorks Task Manager

HSMWorks allows you to continue working inside SolidWorks while generating toolpaths in the background. In this tip we will explain how to best use this feature.

The main interface for controlling toolpath generation is the HSMWorks Task Manager:

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The Task Manager with two jobs running on a dual-core
system, while two additional jobs are pending.


You can monitor the generation directly from the operation manager, which shows the status and progress of the operations that are being recalculated in square brackets after their name:

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Progress in the operation manager.

Notice that the toolpath preview on the model is update while the toolpath is being generated. This allows you to abort an operation early on if something is set up incorrectly (such as a wrong tool view, stepdown or boundaries), instead of waiting for the entire toolpath to generate only to realize that you have to start over.

You can abort a generating operation by right clicking on the operation and choosing Abort Generation:

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Aborting a task

You can always show the Task Manager as in non-modal (or modeless) mode, by pressing Task Manager on the HSMWorks toolbar or in the HSMWorks menu.

When the Task Manager is shown in this way, regeneration tasks are automatically started in the background, and you never have to press the Hide button to continue working.

Setting the Number of Simultaneous Tasks (Concurrency)

When regenerating multiple tasks, HSMWorks automatically starts a number of jobs simultaneously, corresponding to the number of CPU cores in your system, since this normally gives the best performance. Should you wish to change this behavior, you can do so by right-clicking on the task list and choosing a different Concurrency setting:

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Changing the number of simultaneous tasks

HSMWorks will obey this limit when starting tasks automatically, but you can always start additional tasks manually, by pressing the Resume button on the task manager dialog. This is useful, if you have a number of larger tasks running, but have created additional tasks that you wish to calculate right away - without waiting for the already running tasks to complete:

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Forcing a pending task to start

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The 2D Contour task is completed ahead of the 3D tasks

Notice on the screenshots, that additional columns are visible - Processing Time and Peak Memory. These and more can be enabled by right-clicking on one of the already visible column headers:

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Selecting visible columns in the task list

Elapsed Time vs. Processing Time

The elapsed time is the time between a task starts calculating and it completes. This is also known as the wall clock time. Note that this time can vary quite a bit depending on what other tasks the PC is performing - including tasks in other applications.

The processing time - also known as CPU time - is a measure of how much time was actually spend on the task by the CPU(s). The time is in relation to a single CPU core, and as a result - if you have multiple CPU cores, you can see processing times higher than the actual elapsed time. On a dual-core system, the theoretical maximum is thus a processing time twice as high as the elapse time. In practice, this maximum is seldom reached, since the processing time does not include time spent in other tasks (including preparing the task, and time spent in the HSMWorks/SolidWorks main application). For the same reason the processing time will always be lower than the elapsed time on a single core system.

  • Tags: HSMWorks Basics, Multi-tasking, Operation Manager, Toolpath Calculations

Categories: HSM Tips and Tricks

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