Learning to program for high speed and five axis machining
- December 24, 2014
Users of Delcam PowerMill CAM system had the opportunity to learn about the latest developments for high speed and five axis machining at the company's annual update meeting in Windsor, ON.
At the event, Craig Burney, application engineer based in the Delcam Windsor office, previewed a new rib-machining module and other functionality planned for the PowerMill 2015 R2 release scheduled for next year. "Many of the customers were very impressed with how quick and easy rib machining will be and how the additional functionality will improve their machining." said Burney.
Reinforcing ribs are required in many types of plastic mouldings, from electrical housings to containers to furniture. They are typically much deeper than they are wide, which poses special challenges when machining the cavities needed to form them. In many cases, these challenges prompt companies to use EDM to form the features rather than machining. The new PowerMILL module makes it much easier and safer to program the machining of cavities for narrow ribs, even when the cutter's length is much greater than its diameter. Using a dedicated rib-machining strategy gives a better surface finish than using a standard finish machining option and also improves efficiency by limiting the number of air moves.
The first stage of the process is to create a pattern for a single rib, by sketching a line along its length. PowerMill uses this line to identify automatically all the surfaces needed to form the rib. The machining sequence is then calculated. Usually, the machining will either be undertaken by cutting progressively deeper along the centreline of the cavity using a form tool matching the rib profile or by profiling along either side of the rib with a standard tool. In many cases, most, if not all, of the ribs in a part will have similar depth and width profiles. Thus, once the user is happy with the sequence developed for the first rib, the same machining strategies with the same tooling can be applied across the complete network of ribs, minimizing programming times.