Pin Plunge in Cadfil Pipewinder

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Note these features are relevant to Cadfil Version 9.57 onwards

Introduction - What is pin plunge?

When a pipe is wound, the machine will wind the fibre from one end to the other, before the fibre turns around and returns to the original end, this would be a circuit. The winding is usually done at a specific angle, to give the desired material properties of the end product, but in the area where the fibre turns, this angle gradually changes to hoop (90 degrees) before inverting for the return pass. The turning area at either end, where the fibre is not at the specific angle chosen, is frequently removed, as it does not have the material properties that are required.

Turning zone example

If the winding is at a high angle, or close to hoop, the turning length is quite short, so there is not much waste. However at low angles, the fibre can take a long time to turn by friction alone. This means that there may be a large amount of waste. Trying to use a short turn length in this case is impossible, as the fibre will simply slip across the surface of the mandrel. In this case a pin ring may be necessary. A pin ring is a circle of pins that sit around the circumference of the mandrel at the start of the turn length. As the fibre passes over, the pins pierce the fibre band, holding them in place and fixing the position. This means that the turn length can be short from this point. The fibres will still slip, but will rest against the pin ring. The fibres at the specified angle inside the pin ring position will not slip.

The pin plunge parameters are a set of variables that can assist with this process. The user can set x positions where the payout head will keep a higher clearance value, to avoid colliding with the pins. However when the payout head has passed the pin ring, it will then 'plunge' inwards towards the mandrel. This means that the fibres will definitely engage with the pins at the required location. The path will continue until it reaches the hoop point, where the fibres are at 90 degrees. When pin ring winding, it is normal to use a larger amount of dwell, so there is more winding at the 90 degree angle before turning back. However when the fibre begins the return pass, the payout head will move out to the original clearance, ensuring no collisions with the pins on the return pass.

Activating the pin plunge parameters

The pin plunge parameters can be activated in the post-processor configuration data (SM file). Within the configuration data, the variable $PW-PIN-PLUNGE-ASK must be set to 1

Pin plunge ask variable

Once this is done, opening the pipewinder QuickCAD will create a dialog box, asking if the user wants to activate pin plunge options

Pin plunge ask dialog

If the pin plunge options are activated, additional parameters are available in the pipe winding QuickCAD.

QuickCAD with pin plunge options
QuickCAD with pin plunge options
QuickCAD without pin plunge options
QuickCAD without pin plunge options

Using the pin plunge parameters

$PW-PIN-PLUNGE-OPT activates the rest of the parameters, it must be set to 1.

$PW-PIN-PLUNGE-VALU gives the amount (distance) that the payout head plunges by. This value must be less than the clearance to the mandrel to avoid collision, but should be high enough to ensure that the fibre engages with the pins.

$PW-PIN-PLUNGE-XLIM1/2 gives the x values that the pin plunge occurs at. XLIM1 gives the plunge value at the x- end, XLIM2 gives the plunge value at the x- end. The x values chosen need to be sufficiently far from the pin ring to ensure that the payout head does not collide with the pins when it plunges. The payout head will also turn after plunging to get to the hoop point at 90 degrees, so the width of the payout head must also be considered.

The picture blow shows the 2D positions of the payout head. at either end the points plunge inwards, continue to the end of the mandrel, then lift off the mandrel again for the return path.

Pin plunge ask dialog

This can also be represented in the 3D graphics window. It is clear when looking at the difference between the fibre path (on the mandrel surface) and the payout path showing the position of the payout head. At the plunge location, the paths become much closer together.

3D graphic before plunge
Clearance before plunge
3D graphic after plunge
Clearance after plunge

Modelling the pins in the 3D graphics window

In the Cadfil install folder is a text file named plunge_pin_parms.txt. This file contains a list of parameters that allow up to any number of rings of pin models to be applied on the surface of the mandrel, however the default is 4. The contents of the file is shown below.

Pin plunge parms

$PRNG-XPOS-n is the X positions of the pin rings 1-4 on the mandrel. In the example shown, 1 and 2 are close together and 3 and 4 are the same. If less than 4 rings are required, x positions can be left blank.
$PRNG-BASERAD-n is the radial distance from the axis in the centre of the mandrel, to the base of the pins. In most cases this value should be the same as the cylinder radius, as the base of the pin is on the cylinder surface.
$PRNG-HEIGHT-n is the height of the pin ring from the base position specified previously.
$PRNG-RADIUS-n is the radius of 1 pin. This should usually be a comparatively small number.
$PRNG-ANGLEOFF-n can set a rotational offset to the pin ring. In the given example, rings 1 and 2 are very close, but the second ring of pins is rotated by 3 degrees about the axis in comparison to the first ring.
$PRNG-NPINS-n is the number of pins in each ring. It may be that for a larger diameter mandrel, you would require a larger number of pins.

In the 3D graphics window, there is an option to select this parameter file through 'Options > Pin ring file'. This will display the previously defined pins on the mandrel surface.

Mandrel with pin rings
Mandrel with pin rings
Fibre passing through pins
Fibre passing through pins

In the 3D graphics window, the pin ring models are mainly used for illustrative purposes. However if the payout head model has been correctly defined in order to replicate the shape and size of the actual payout head, this 3D model animation can be useful to see the risk of collision between the payout head, and the pins, either when the payout head is passing over the pins, or when the payout head is plunging and turning.

Updated: 10 February 2020