Pro/DESKTOP® Tutorial Introductory Level – CAM

Pro/DESKTOP® Tutorial Introductory Level – CAM
Pro/DESKTOP® Tutorial
Introductory Level – CAM
Written
by
Tim Brotherhood
Copyright © 2003, Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC) -- All
rights reserved under copyright laws of the United States and other
countries.
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Copying and use of these materials is authorized only in
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PTC product names and logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of PTC and/or
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All other use is prohibited unless written permission is
obtained from the copyright holder.
Acknowledgements
John Hutchinson – The College of New Jersey
Fred Fogle – The College of New Jersey
Feedback
In order to ensure these materials are of the highest
quality, users are asked to report errors to PTC at
[email protected]
Suggestions for improvements and other activities are
also welcomed.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................. 4
CAM IN INDUSTRY............................................................................................................ 4
Removing Material.......................................................................................................................... 7
Machining ............................................................................................................................................ 7
3 Axis Machining ............................................................................................................................. 8
2½D vs 3D........................................................................................................................................... 8
Applications of 2½D...................................................................................................................... 9
3D Machining...................................................................................................................................10
QUIZ .............................................................................................................................12
MODIFYING DESIGNS FOR PRODUCTION ..............................................................................13
Designing for Machining............................................................................................................14
Quality vs Speed .............................................................................................................................15
CAM IN THE CLASSROOM................................................................................................17
Tools/Settings...................................................................................................................................17
Work Piece.........................................................................................................................................17
MULTIPLE OBJECT MACHINING .........................................................................................19
Long Machining Times ................................................................................................................20
FROM CAD TO CAM......................................................................................................21
EXPORTING AN STL FILE ..................................................................................................22
POST PROCESSING...........................................................................................................22
Post Processing Principles .........................................................................................................22
Importing a 3D Model.................................................................................................................23
Size of Model (scaling) ...............................................................................................................24
CALCULATE TOOL PATH....................................................................................................30
On Screen Simulation...................................................................................................................30
Machining ..........................................................................................................................................31
QUIZ .............................................................................................................................32
POST PROCESSORS IN SCHOOL ..........................................................................................33
Modela Player ..................................................................................................................................33
Mill Wizard........................................................................................................................................33
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INTRODUCTION
Computer aided manufacture (CAM) in schools includes a range of techniques including
printing, embroidery, vinyl cutting, machining of resistant materials, etc. All of these
are based on graphical images, most in two dimensions (2D).
This booklet concentrates on techniques for taking three dimensional (3D) designs from
Pro/DESKTOP and machining them out of resistant materials. In order to place this
work in context, reference will be made where appropriate to 2D techniques.
Designing is an important aspect of design and technology but equally vital is the
capacity to manufacture. Computer Aided Manufacture (CAM) is the logical extension
of CAD but requires expensive machines. The software that controls CAM machines
usually comes as part of the package but link software is required to convert
Pro/DESKTOP files into machine instructions.
CAM IN INDUSTRY
Stereo Lithography
Stereo Lithography is a term coined to describe a laser process for solidifying resin to
form complex 3D components. It creates durable, highly accurate models but can take
days to create large, detailed objects. The file format for rapid prototype models is
known as STL and breaks the surface of an object into thousands of triangles.
Stereo Lithography machines are
still the realms of large companies,
often costing well over £100,000
each.
The STL file format however is now
being used to transfer files to
machining equipment.
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LOM
Laminated object manufacture
(LOM) is a well-established
industrial process that slices a
component into wafer thin slices.
These are cut from sheet material,
usually paper or card, and bonded
together to form a copy of the
computer model.
Models formed by this process are robust with properties similar to softwood or
medium density fiberboard.
A school version of this process is now available. Boxford a UK based machine tool
manufacturer has produced RapidPro software.
This operates like a software wizard guiding the user through a series of screens. The
slices are cut into sheets of self-adhesive cardboard or paper. A clever technique of
guide pegs is used to align the slices when, with a bit of patience, they are glued
together ‘re-assemble’ the model.
Fuse Deposition Modelling (FDM)
This process is used extensively and
produces dense, robust models that
can be handled without fear of
damage. Some plastics used in this
process can be sterilized and used to
prototype food products.
FDM machines build models from very fine strands of thermoplastic. The technique
could be likened to using a hot glue gun to build up layers of plastic onto a surface,
gradually creating a component. Because models are built in air the software adds
‘scaffolding’ to support overhangs.
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Required model
FDM model with scaffolding
Models created using this technique are robust enough to be used for testing purposes.
Automobile companies routinely produce FDM models of air ducts and manifolds to
check flow characteristics.
3D Printers
These machines use a technique where fine powder is laid down in layers with adhesive
bonding the particles for each ‘slice’. Materials include cornstarch and plaster.
Early examples of these machines cost up to $250,000 but the price is now below
$50,000. Predictions suggest a machine will be available below $5,000 within 5 years,
a point where schools may find them affordable. Pottery manufacturers make extensive
use of this process to create prototypes and molds directly in plaster. The ‘Hot House’,
a design center near Stoke on Trent, England offers a range of CAD and CAM services to
the ceramic industries including 3D printing.
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Removing Material
Spark erosion
This technique is used to shape materials that are difficult to cut by mechanical
methods. Titanium is one such material.
A thin wire acts as the anode and the titanium blank is the cathode. A high voltage
supply is connected between the electrodes and an electrolyte liquid sprayed over the
work piece.
The ‘cutting’ wire is gradually moved to create the required shape. For internal holes,
like the one above in a suspension upright, the wire can be threaded through a pilot
hole prior to starting the cut.
Machining
Machining components manually is a complex process even for experienced operators.
Defining the instructions for a computer-controlled machine can also be very difficult.
Programming tool paths and machine instructions is a highly specialized job, needing
well-qualified engineers with high-level ICT skills.
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Computerized milling machines are often
described as Computer Numerically
Controlled (CNC). Machines need a set
of instructions to determine the
movement and speed of cutters and
positioning motors.
Picture courtesy of:
The Manufacturing Engineering Centre –
University of Wales.
3 Axis Machining
To explain CNC machining this diagram shows the worktable and cutting head.
This shows the three axes of movement. The movement of each axis can be controlled
independently.
2½D vs 3D
Early CNC machining in schools was confined to 2D cutting due to the complexity of
converting 3D co-ordinates into machine instructions. These instructions consist of a
standardized language of “G-Codes”. Simplified, a straight cut would be programmed
as a start point, end point and depth of cut.
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Wherever this instruction appears in the program the cutting tool moves downwards
cutting into the material to the required depth and the x and/or y movement is made
creating a slot in the material.
Z plunge
X/Y cut
Most modern 3 axis machines come with software that will convert a 2D line drawing
into G–code instructions removing the need for a knowledge of programming. The
technique of converting a drawing into machine instructions is called “postprocessing”.
Working from 2D drawings, a number of different depths can be determined, hence 2½
dimensional. The different depths are often identified by color of line.
Applications of 2½D
A common school project employing these 2½D techniques is a rolling ball maze game.
The base is machined from a 10mm thick block of
acrylic with a 6mm diameter cutter at three depths
of cut.
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• 9mm deep for maze track (Red)
• 3mm deep for lid recess (Green)
• 10mm deep for the outside shape of the block
(Blue)
Note: A lid is cut separately from 3mm clear acrylic.
Another example of 2½D
might be creating a
landscape model. How
would you set about this? If
you are familiar with the
Loft feature in Pro/DESKTOP
you could easily model a
shape similar to this.
Machining in 2½D would
look something like this,
resembling the contour lines
shown on topographical
maps.
A small 2½D model of this
would not take very long to
machine, perhaps a few
minutes.
What would the tool paths look like for each layer? Remember, at each layer you need
to clear away all the material out to the edge of the rectangle.
3D Machining
Machining in full 3D would take far longer as most software uses Raster cutting
techniques. Software analyses the model in vertical slices. This can be in the X or Yaxis. The illustration below shows raster cuts in the X-axis with the step-over between
cuts increased to show the principle.
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Stepover
This shows more typical step-over spacing.
The above step-over would produce this quality of surface finish.
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For a very high quality finish the step-over should be no more than 25% of the cutter
diameter and cutting carried out in the X and Y-axes.
However, raster machining has a significant cost in terms of the time needed for
cutting. The above model is likely to take well over an hour to machine.
Industrial machining
Many schools are now buying 3 axis machines. Some machine tool suppliers have an
optional fourth axis on their products.
Engineering companies increasingly need four, five and even six axis equipment for
highly specialized work.
QUIZ
1.
What other forms of CAM are there open to schools other than using resistant
materials?
2.
Name and describe how one form of rapid prototyping operates.
3.
What letters are used to identify the three axes of a CNC milling machine?
4.
Which direction of movement does each letter identify?
5.
Explain the difference between 2½D and 3D machining.
6.
Sketch a component that lends itself to 2½D machining.
7.
Sketch a component that lends itself to 3D machining.
8.
Describe raster machining in the X-axis.
9.
What factors determines the surface finish of raster machining?
10.
Give one advantage and one disadvantage of four/five axis machining.
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MODIFYING DESIGNS FOR PRODUCTION
As a design concept your model may be fine. If however you were designing for
production particularly in quantity you could not finalize the shape without considering
the limitations of the production process.
Machining
Limitations of 3 axis machining
include the diameter, shape and
length of cutter.
Machining every component would normally be impractical, unless perhaps each
customer wanted a unique design. How much would each one cost? At this stage you
are unlikely to have the information you would need to work this out.
For example, would potential purchasers of humble fridge magnets pay a very high
price? Can you think of small machineable products people will pay very high prices
for?
Injection molding
A metal mold shaped like the object
has molten plastic forced in under
pressure.
Limitations include corners where
the plastic may not flow before
setting.
Illustration: TEP injection molding
kit
The entry and exit holes for the plastic may need to be re-positioned to make the
plastic flow more smoothly and sharp corners may need to be rounded to prevent voids.
Pro/DESKTOP can be used to design the mold ‘in context’ so that clamping bolts and
entry/exit holes are visible throughout the design process.
Molds for commercial machines are very expensive. This must be taken into account
when setting the price for individual parts.
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Vacuum forming
A thin sheet of plastic is heated
until soft and ‘sucked’ onto a former
by vacuum.
Limitations include sharp external
corners cutting the plastic and webs
forming around corners.
Formech and C R Clark make vacuum forming machines for use in schools.
To avoid cuts, sharp edges on the mold should be rounded.
Reducing the height of the shape would help prevent webs forming and some plastics
such as styrene are less prone to forming webs.
Designing for Machining
When using Pro/DESKTOP to design products for machining it is important the
limitations of the machining process are taken into account. There would be little point
designing fine detail if the finishing tool is a 3mm-diameter ball nosed cutter.
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Quality vs Speed
Another limitation of Computer Aided Manufacture (CAM) is the time machines take to
cut out a 3D shape. As we have discussed, a high quality finish requires very small
step-over and subsequently long machining times.
The telephone shape in the example below is approximately 60mm long and 30mm
wide. Maximum depth was approximately 6mm. The total machining time was 3 hours
45 minutes!
The finish achieved was excellent and making the block size in Pro/DESKTOP almost
exactly the same as the mould could have reduced the cutting time by as much as 50%.
Very fine detail can only be achieved with small diameter cutters but a 1mm cutter
with a 25% tool diameter stepover will have to make over 400 profile cuts to finish an
x axis raster cut. A 3mm tool with 25% stepover will need 132 passes across the
workpiece. The detail possible with the 3mm cutter will however be considerably less.
Ball nose
cutter
Stepover
(% of tool Ø)
Length of
model
Number of
passes
Time to
machine
3mm Ø
25%
100mm
136
1h 15m
1mm Ø
25%
100mm
404
3h 45m
The x, y, and z movements of the 3-axis machine will also restrict the overall size of
model. Typically a 3-axis machine for schools would have a working area (in mm) in
the region of:
X
Y
Z
300 x 200 x 100
In practice the need to clamp material will reduce the X and/or Y working area.
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The length of the tool often limits the useful Z movement. A 100mm long 10mm ball
nose cutter would probably be acceptable whereas a 3mm ball nose tool 100mm long
would break.
10mm diameter tool acceptable for
roughing.
3mm diameter tool vulnerable to
breakage due to excessive length
It is no accident that the cutting flutes of a 3mm ball nose cutter are only 10-15mm
long.
This problem is the limiting factor for surface finish when machining deep features.
In this situation, if
surface finish were
important, industry would
probably employ a
four/five axis machine to
allow a standard length
3mm ball nose cutter to
finish the steep sides of
the component.
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CAM IN THE CLASSROOM
Managing CAM effectively presents a number of problems particularly when class
projects are involved.
Tools/Settings
Default settings for speeds and feed-rates are usually very conservative. New users of
CNC would be advised to use the defaults while they are learning and let experience
suggest when changing the default settings will increase productivity without damage
to work piece or tooling.
Path Spacing (Stepover)
As a general rule the smaller the path spacing the longer machining will take but the
finer the finish. Draft cuts will usually have a 50% path spacing (step-over). Fine
finish is usually 20% of cutter diameter for the step-over.
Speeds and feeds
The materials being cut and the power of the machine govern speeds and feeds.
Settings for most machines are very conservative and only experience will determine
optimum settings for a particular machine. Extreme care must be exercised when
increasing speeds and feeds, particularly with light duty machines.
Work Piece
Size
It goes without saying that models should be no bigger than the maximum size of the
machine. Larger models can be scaled but where size is important Pro/DESKTOP can be
used to chop the model into slices.
Machine each slice separately and
glue them together to recreate the
model to the required size. This
technique is particularly useful where
the tooling cannot accommodate the
Z depth in one go.
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Reduce border to a minimum
When raster machining molds, leave the smallest margin possible around the mold
cavity. Unnecessary area will increase the machining time.
Large flat top surface will increase machining time
Minimum top surface
significantly reduces
machining time
Fixing
Double-sided tape is the most common method used in schools.
Workpiece
Double sided tape
Sacrificial sheet
Double sided tape
Machine table
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Where multiple identical
objects are being machined one
after another, consider fixing
fences to the base as a simple
jig. Each block can then be
aligned accurately against them
before fixing down. This will
cut down on set-up time.
Some objects lend themselves to bolting down. A good example of this would be
moulds for the TEP injection-molding kit. Use plastic bolts like the ones used on
automobile number plates. They are less likely to damage cutters if a collision with the
cutting tool occurs.
MULTIPLE OBJECT MACHINING
Set-up time is non-productive. Here are a number of strategies to ameliorate the time
taken to set-up before and dismantle after machining.
Assemble several designs
Wherever possible fill the machining area with models to cut down on setting up time.
Several small designs from students can be assembled in Pro/DESKTOP to be machined
in one go.
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Alternatively, duplicates of a single model are another way to maximize the use of a
CNC machine.
A game of two halves
Where two halves need to be machined as with the mobile phone example earlier,
create a Pro/DESKTOP file with two copies of the same object, one being inverted. A
front and a back can then be machined in one go.
Long Machining Times
Some machining cycles can take a very long time. To minimize sound disruption in
lessons consider the position of a CNC machine very carefully. Noise that seems no
problem at first can be very annoying after many minutes or even hours for complex
designs!
Schools are increasingly setting their CNC machine to run overnight or even across a
weekend.
Companies use their expensive CNC machinery 24 hours a day. There is no return on
capital investment while a machine is unused. Many modern factories are also fully
automated. A further advantage of CNC machines (and robots) is they don’t get tired
or irritable!
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Fact or Fiction?
There is a story about fully automated hi-tech factory where the company employs just
one security guard and a dog.
The man is there to feed the dog.
The dog is there to bite the man if he tries to touch any of the machines!
FROM CAD TO CAM
Computer aided manufacture used to be a lengthy complex process requiring in-depth
knowledge of a machine control language that was based on G-codes.
Specialist software now makes this conversion very easy. In outline there are three
stages involved
1. Export the Pro/DESKTOP model as an STL file
2. Post processing the STL file into machine instructions
3. Use the machine instructions to machine your model.
Post
processing
Pro/DESKTOP model
Machining
Machine instructions
(G-codes)
The Boat hull from one of the other
Pro/DESKTOP tutorials will be used to
show the complete process from start
finish.
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3 axis CNC machine
EXPORTING AN STL FILE
The model must now be exported from Pro/DESKTOP as a Stereo Lithography file (.stl).
•
With the model Dinghy Hull.des open in Pro/DESKTOP
•
Open the File… pull-down menu
•
Click on Export
•
Select Stereo Lithography file…
•
Note which folder the file is being saved in and give the file an appropriate name.
•
Click on
The next step is to open the STL file in your Post processor software.
POST PROCESSING
Post Processing Principles
Post processing involves converting a 2D CAD drawing or 3D model into a set of
machine instructions (G-codes) that will control a milling machine or lathe.
The following instructions have been written to describe a generic procedure for
creating a CNC file. It does not refer to any particular suppliers software.
Post processing involves making decisions about how a 3D model will be machined.
They fall into the following broad headings although some software may deal with
them in a slightly different order.
1. Import 3D model (STL).
2. Direction (Z axis).
3. Size of model (scaling).
4. Depth of cut.
5. Material to be machined.
6. Tooling.
7. Roughing/finish cuts.
8. Calculate Tool path.
9. On screen simulation.
10. Output CNC machine instructions.
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The machine instructions are then used control the 3-axis machine when cutting your
design in a resistant material.
Note: Depending on the post processing software and machine tool you are using, the
steps above may occur in a different order and the terminology may vary slightly.
Importing a 3D Model
The most common file format for transferring 3D models form CAD programs to post
processors is Stereo Lithography format (STL). This was created for early rapid
prototyping machines that used lasers to cure liquid resin creating complex solid
models directly from CAD data. STL has become the de-facto industry standard for
transferring 3D CAM files.
Most post-processing software accepts STL files and this is the format you should use
from Pro/DESKTOP in STL
•
With the post processor software open.
•
Open or Import the STL file (previously exported from Pro/DESKTOP).
The example used here is Dinghy Hull.stl. You could use this to try out these
instructions with your own post-processor.
A 3D view of your model will appear as a wire frame or an STL surface view.
Wireframe
STL surfaces
An STL file stores the 3D shape with every surface made up of triangles. Rectangular
flat surfaces will need only two triangles whereas tightly curved surfaces will need
hundreds of triangles. That is why the front of the hull in example above is so dark.
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Direction (Z axis)
This option allows models with detail on front and back to be cut twice from different
directions. The two parts can then be glued together to form the final model.
Assemble to form
phone model
Machine 2 halves
Most software provides four or more directions for machining.
•
Select the direction for machining
Size of Model (scaling)
Large models can be too big to be machined in one go. The model could be broken into
smaller, full-size bits, machined and re-assembled to produce a component of the
original designed size.
However there are occasions when the machining time to create a full size component
is not necessary and a scale model will serve the purpose. A smaller, scale model can
be machined in a fraction of the time for a full-scale component.
At the simplest level scaling can be determined as a percentage of the original model.
50% will create a half scale component whereas 200% a model twice full size.
Half scale
Full size
Twice full size (200%)
Some software provides the option of setting the scale from a linear distance, usually
the X, Y or Z-axis.
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This is particularly useful where a
model is to be scaled to suit an
existing component.
Here a picture frame has been
rescaled to suit a photograph.
•
Select an appropriate scale for your model.
Depth of cut
It is important to be able to set the depth of cut. For example where only one surface
of a model will be produced on CAM.
In a previous example of a two part
machined mobile telephone, the
depth of cut would probably be
chosen to coincide with the ‘shut line’
or ‘join’ in the plastic casing for the
phone.
Shut line
•
Set the appropriate depth of cut for your design.
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Material to be machined
Most software will have default values for the optimum linear cutting for a wide
variety of materials.
The optimum linear cutting speed
relates to the highest speed a
shaper tool can be moved.
Factors affecting the linear cutting
speed include the need to produce
a good finish, machine tool power,
time between sharpening/bit
replacement and minimizing the
risk of tool breakage or damage.
Choosing the correct material is important, as it will influence the rotational speed of
the cutting tool and the feed rates for the three axes. These will be worked out in
subsequent steps.
•
Select the material you will be machining
Tooling
The range of cutters for machining is extensive. CNC machines cutting metals
commonly use High Speed Steel (HSS) slot drills or end mills. End mills are preferred
for CNC work because they will cut in the Z-axis when entering the material. This
removes the need for tool changing to create pilot holes.
As well as conventional end mills ball nosed cutters are very useful for roughing and
finishing. The natural fillet ball nosed cutters leave in internal corners can be used to
advantage.
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Routers
Routers operating with timbers use solid carbide or carbide tipped tools at high speed
for longer life. Specialist work can also make use of specialist tool bits such as Ogee,
Ovolo or Veining profiles. Check with your machine tool supplier for the full range.
Tool changing
CNC machines vary in the way tools are held and changed.
The simplest system holds the cutting tool in a collet chuck. After every tool change
the Z “tool offset” for the new tool must be set either through “touching on” to the
material or using jigs to set tool overhang.
Manual quick-change chucks are extremely useful. Before machining, a number of
tools are fitted into special collets and the offsets for each tool set in the software.
During machining when a tool change is necessary, machining will stop, the tool will
move clear of the work piece and the computer will prompt for the appropriate tool.
Note: Software with older machines may not support tool changes. A workaround for
this would involve exporting a Pro/DESKTOP model and post-processing it at each stage
requiring a different tool. Providing tool offsets are correctly set and the material is
not moved between machining each separate CNC program, a successful outcome
should result.
Roughing/finish cuts
Machining is usually carried out in two distinct stages, roughing and finishing.
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Roughing
This usually involves a large diameter tool to remove the majority of waste material
quickly. Surface finish is not an issue so high speeds and feeds can be employed.
The step-over can be up to 50% of the cutter diameter, reducing the number of ‘passes’
to a minimum.
Stepover
This will help reduce the machining time. In industry this is particularly important
where capital investment in machinery and human costs are significant elements in the
final component cost.
Step down (Z axis)
Removing deep amounts of material may require more than one cutting pass at
successively deeper cuts.
First roughing cut
CAM
Second roughing cut
28
Third roughing cut
Specify the roughing tool parameters. These may include:
1. Diameter (mm)
2. End shape (Square/ball nose)
3. Rotational speed (RPM)
(The software may calculate this for you from the material specified previously,
cutter diameter and X, Y feed rate).
4. X and Y-axis feed rate (mm/sec)
(See comment for the previous point).
5. X, Y stepover (% tool diameter)
6. Z axis feed rate (mm/sec)
7. Z axis step down (mm)
Finishing
A small diameter cutter is used for finishing to reach into corners wherever fine detail
is required.
The step-over for small diameter cutters when finishing should be 20% or less.
Ball nosed cutters are often used because they do not leave such sharp edges on faces
that slope in the Z-axis.
Slot drill finishing
Ball nosed finishing
Many of the parameters set for finishing will be similar to roughing. Exceptions include
step-over already discussed and Z-axis step down.
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Z-axis step down does not apply to finishing as the last layer is cut in one pass. Instead
you may be asked to specify an uncut margin.
Finished surface
Uncut margin
Roughing will leave material represented by the gray area all over the surface of the
model to be removed in finishing.
•
Specify smoothing tool parameters. These may include:
1. Diameter (mm)
2. End shape (Square/ball nose)
3. Rotational speed (RPM)
(The software may calculate this for you from the material specified previously,
cutter diameter and X, Y feed rate).
4. X and Y-axis feed rate (mm/sec)
(See comment for the previous point).
5. X, Y step over (% tool diameter)
6. Z axis feed rate (mm/sec)
7. Uncut margin (fractional mm, e.g. 0.2mm)
CALCULATE TOOL PATH
This is the final stage, creating the co-ordinate information and paths for the tip of the
tool to follow. You may not be aware of this stage other than the computer stopping
to do some heavyweight calculations. An egg timer on screen may be the only outward
sign this stage is being carried out.
On Screen Simulation
The post-processing software now knows how the object will be machined. From this it
can create an accurate ‘picture’ of what the finished surface will look like.
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Not only that, most software will show a real-time or speeded up version of the cutting
taking place. Some will even work out how long machining will take.
Roughing cut simulation
Finishing cut simulation
Machining
You will need to ensure the post
processing software knows the make
and model of the machine being used
and any additional facilities such as
auto tool change.
T1M6
G0Z5.000
G0X0.000Y0.000S2600M3
G0X0.001Y0.001Z5.000
G1Z-26.446F200.0
G1X0.101F300.0
X105.999
Y0.100
Y1.491
X105.899
X63.600
X63.400Z-26.418
X61.100Z-25.902
X60.700Z-25.863
X58.300Z-25.848
X56.300Z-25.848
X55.200Z……………
You may also need to specify other
parameters so check with your
machine software.
The example on the right is the first
few lines taken from a G-code
program to machine the dinghy hull.
…………
The complete CNC file is 5738 lines long. Imagine trying to program every line of that
manually!
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QUIZ
1. Describe one limitation of 3 axis machining
2. Give one example of a subsequent manufacturing process a CNC component
may be used for.
3. How might the machining time be reduced for a given component?
4. What, if any, would be the down side to this change?
5. What modifications might be necessary to make a model suitable for vacuum
forming?
6. What problems do you foresee if a very long small diameter tool is used?
7. How would you cope with machining a model that is too tall for the tool
length/Z capacity of your CNC mill?
8. Describe two methods of fixing the work piece to the CNC table.
9. What is the name of the process that converts a drawing or 3D model into a set
of machine instructions?
10. What is the export file format used to transfer Pro/DESKTOP designs into the
next stage of manufacturing?
CAM
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POST PROCESSORS IN SCHOOL
There are two easy to use post processors available to schools, Roland's Modela Player
and DelCAM's Mill Wizard. Both pieces of software operate in a very similar way. A
wizard format asks the user to make a series of choices leading to a set of machine
instructions to cut out the Pro/DESKTOP design.
Modela Player
This is software provided free with Roland 3 axis machines including the MDX and
CAMM2 models. It accepts files exported from Pro/DESKTOP and controls Roland
machines directly through the printer or serial port from the computer.
Mill Wizard
Mill Wizard (known as MiniCAM in the UK) is software from a company called DelCAM.
It works in a similar way to Modela but does not control machines directly. Instead it
saves a set of machine instructions in a range of formats suitable for a wide range of
machines likely to be used in schools.
The file produced by Mill Wizard is loaded into the CAM machine control software in
order to execute the manufacture process.
CAM
33
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