Five Reasons to Use CAM Surface-Based Toolpaths

CAD/CAM software provides the necessary element of control to the machining process, but according to this software provider, surface-based toolpaths provide a higher level of control that machinists and programmers might need.


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Surface-based CAD/CAM advantages, according to BobCAD-CAM, include high levels of control for CNC machining, reduced cycle times on jobs that require surface machining, ease of use for mold and die machining, superior machining operations with plenty of options and the use of t-cutters, dove, tapered and lollipop tools.

BobCAD-CAM asks, "If your CAM software can generate 3D toolpaths, does that mean it’s surfaced-based?" The answer, "Not necessarily." The company explains that what is likely happening is the surfaces or solids you’ve selected are being converted into 3D meshes, which your CAM system uses to create toolpaths. This is where surface-based toolpaths are different.

Surface-based toolpaths are generated using the surface data directly. Toolpath is created based on the selected drive surfaces. And so, what are drive surfaces? Drive surfaces are those surfaces you’ve selected that the toolpath will be driven along. How the toolpath is driven is based on which of the seven surface-based toolpath strategies you’ve selected and what options you chosen to work with. This is where you’ll find the user control and advantages of working with surfaces directly.

CAD/CAM surface-based machine toolpath operations include flowline, parallel cuts, cutting along a curve, morphing between two curves, morphing between two surfaces, parallel to multiple curves, project curves and parallel to surface.

For more on each of these CAD/CAM surface-based machine toolpath operations, click here.