For moldmakers using multi-axis machine tools, developing CNC programs that can fully utilize the capabilities of these machine tools is a difficult problem. Its purpose is to make full use of the movement of the additional axis of the machine tool (workbench or tool post) in the most effective way, and at the same time make the mold have a good surface finish.
In recent years, the synchronous movement of machine tools has become more and more complicated, which also makes the CAM software system face difficult problems in both mathematics and technology. The rapid development of machining technology has made it difficult to synchronize the development of efficient NC programs that can be used to run machine tools.
In addition, software products designed for multi-axis machine tools must be easy to use and correct. Because the materials, high-precision tools and accessories used in these advanced machine tools are very expensive, even the smallest programming errors can cause significant losses.
Based on these premises, the problem faced by CAM software developers is how to combine these powerful programming functions with a programming process that is easy to understand by users. These functions must be clearly explained in order to guide the user through the programming process, so as to avoid errors in determining the tool path. At the same time, the programming process will not become rigid or limited.
In order to provide users with multiple machining solutions, CAM software developers always decompose four-axis and five-axis machining into various special functions that can be used for various tool paths. In fact, some CAM developers are proud of their ability to provide multiple specialized functions.
The cost of developing this type of software is to make the function of the system difficult to understand. The typical end user can only understand and utilize limited functions. It is impossible for CNC programmers with busy business to remember the purpose of the many functions of the CAM system, so they usually only program according to the functions they are most familiar with, and ignore other functions.
Four simplified steps
The new concept of advanced machining functions is based on the view that any five-axis machining function (no matter how complicated) can be defined in a few simple steps. Mold manufacturers have adopted a tried and tested method to set up mold production procedures:
(1) The area to be processed and the machining sequence. This step is based on the complexity of the shape of the part, and is often the easiest to inspire the inspiration of a skilled mechanic.
(2) What shape should the tool trajectory in the machining area have? Should the tool cut in the order of front and back or up and down according to the parametric lines of the surface, and use the surface boundary 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 short hard tool in a small space. The mold maker needs to fully control the tool, including the front and rear inclination angle when the tool is tilted. In addition, it is necessary to consider the angular limit caused by the rotation of the worktable or tool post of many machine tools. For example, there are limits to the degree of rotation of milling/turning machine tools.
(4) How to convert the cutting path of the tool? How to control the displacement of the tool due to reset or displacement and the displacement of the tool between the machining areas at the starting point of the tool path? The displacement generated by the conversion process is very critical in mold production. It can eliminate the traces of the witness line and the tool (which can be removed by manual polishing afterwards).
Following the idea of a mechanic when deciding to perform five-axis machining on complex parts, it is a better way to develop CAM software. Why decompose five-axis machining functions instead of developing a familiar and easy-to-understand single programming process for programmers?
This advanced technology will eliminate the contradiction between powerful functions and ease of use. By simplifying the multi-axis machining method into a unique function, users can quickly make full use of all the functions of the product. With this new function of CAM, five-axis machining can be maximized flexibility and compactness.