CAM Machining Options

PowerMILL CAM 2012

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Delcam (Salt Lake City, UT) has launched the 2012 version of its PowerMILL CAM system for high-speed and five-axis machining. The new release will include a number of new strategies, together with more general enhancements to make programming faster and machining more efficient with the best-possible surface finish.

 

The most important new option is flowline machining. With flowline machining, the toolpath is divided between a pair of drive curves in a constant number of passes, rather than having a varying number of passes with a constant stepover. The toolpath will have its start and end passes on the drive curves, with the intermediate passes blending between them.

 

This approach gives smoother results since it ensures that each pass travels over the full length of the area, rather than leaving the part, or making major changes in direction, during the pass. It produces a better surface finish on the part and minimizes wear on the cutter and the machine tool.

 

In PowerMILL, flowline machining can be applied across part of a surface, across a complete single surface or across multiple surfaces. In addition, intermediate curves can be added between the boundaries of the area to give even greater control over the toolpaths. These might be needed for particularly complex fillets or when machining gently-curved surfaces to a smooth finish.

 

PowerMILL has offered an optional module for automated machining of blades, blisks and impellors for some time. This module has now been enhanced with the addition of a spiral machining strategy. This keeps the cutter on the surface of the part for the complete operation and so gives more even tool loading and a better surface finish.

 

Another new option that will give better results during five-axis machining is the ability to control the angular point distribution. This option can be used to keep the machine tool moving smoothly when there is rapid angular change in one of the rotary axes of the machine tool. The problem occurs mainly when moving around sharp corners but is also important when the machine is operating near a vertical tool axis. If the machine tool is near the gimbal lock position, small movements in the tool-axis vector can result in large movements in one of the axes.

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