For moldmakers using multi-axis machines, developing CNC programs that take full advantage of these machine tools is a challenge. The goal is to make the most efficient use of the machine's additional shaft movement (workbench or tool holder) while giving the mold a good surface finish.
In recent years, the synchronous movement of machine tools has become more complicated, and the CAM software system has faced difficulties in both mathematics and technology. The rapid development of processing technology has made it difficult to develop synchronous NC programs that can be used to run machine tools.
In addition, software products designed for multi-axis machines must be easy to use and correct. Since the materials used for these advanced machine tools, high-precision tools and accessories are very expensive, very small programming errors can also cause significant losses.
Based on these premises, the challenge for CAM software developers is how to combine these powerful programming functions with programming processes that are easily understood by users. These functions must be clearly stated in order to guide the user through the programming process, thus avoiding errors in determining the tool path. At the same time, it does not make the programming process rigid or limited.
In order to provide users with a variety of processing solutions, CAM software developers always decompose four-axis and five-axis machining into a variety of special functions that can be used for various tool paths. In fact, some CAM developers are proud to offer a variety of specialized features.
The cost of developing this type of software is making the functionality of the system incomprehensible. Typical end users can only understand and take advantage of limited functionality. It is impossible for a busy CNC programmer to remember the many functions of the CAM system, so they usually only program according to the functions they are most familiar with, while ignoring other functions.
Four simplified steps
The new concept of advanced machining functions is based on the idea that any five-axis machining function, no matter how complex, can be defined in a few simple steps. Moldmakers have taken a tried and tested approach to setting up the mold production process:
(1) The area to be processed and the processing order. This step is based on the complexity of the shape of the part and is often the easiest to inspire the skilled mechanic.
(2) What shape should the tool path in the machining area have? Should the tool be cut according to the parametric lines of the surface, in front and rear or up and down order, and the surface boundary is used as a guide?
(3) How to guide the tool axis to match the tool path? This is very important for the quality of the surface finish and whether to use a shorter hard tool in a small space. Moldmakers need to have adequate control of the tool, including the anteversion angle that occurs when the tool is tilted. In addition, the angular limits created by the rotation of the table or tool holder of many machine tools must be considered. For example, there is a limit to the degree of rotation of a milling/turning machine.
(4) How to change the cutting path of the tool? How to control the displacement of the tool due to reset or displacement and the displacement that the tool must produce between the machining areas at the starting point of the tool path? The displacement generated by the conversion process is very important in the production of the mold. It eliminates the evidence line and the traces produced by the tool (which can be removed by manual polishing thereafter).
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