CNC CAD CAM software

January 20, 2008

CNC software is probably cnc’s most important tool or resource.
Just was released Mastercam’s Maintenance that delivers enhanced toolpath control
CNC Software releasing the second Maintenance release for Mastercam X2 and CNC Software announces the release of MR2 Mastercam X2’s Maintenance Release. This release introduces significant new capabilities, including new and improved toolpaths for high speed machining, multiaxis enhancements, and much more.

Multiaxis Enhancements
Some powerful enhancements are included in the advanced multiaxis toolpaths. For example, allows the toolpath motion to be optimized by completing one region before moving on to another, and expanded entry and exit macros that greatly simplify contacting and leaving the material.

Peel Milling Toolpath
Delivers powerful high speed cutting to 2D projects, this new toolpath moves the tool in and “peels” away material, layer by layer.

Operations Manager
The Ccam Operations Manager panel can float to a different area of the graphics window or to a separate screen when you are working with dual monitors.

Creating a Boundary Function
The Create Boundary function greatly expands cad Mastercam’s toolpath boundary creation, restricting the toolpath to highly specific areas. It can calculate the boundary using shallow areas, theoretical rest areas, cutter contact areas, and enhanced silhouette boundary controls and more.

Swept Surfaces
New techniques and options have been added more sweep orientation control options, greater flexibility in the use of multiple along and cross curves.

MR2 Enhancements
You can now define horizontal block drill stations in the machine definition rather than using an aggregate, set up different views for each station.
Common edge optimization in nesting is now supported. Nesting toolpaths so that they have common edges saves both time and money.
At the Level Manager can now be moved to a second monitor and left open. You can also hide all geometry except what is on the main level, or display a range of levels in the Level Manager grid.
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CNC machinery and tools

April 20, 2007

A CNC machine tool is a powered mechanical device used to fabricate metal components of machines by the selective removal of metal. The term machine tool is usually reserved for tools that used a power source other than human movement, but they can be powered by people if appropriately set up. Many historians of technology consider that the true machine tools were born when direct human involvement was removed from the shaping or stamping process of the different kinds of tools. For instance, they consider that lathe machine tools were invented around 1751 by Jacques de Vaucanson because he was the first to mount the cutting instrument on a mechanically adjustable head, taking it out of the hands of the operator.
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CNC Routers

April 20, 2007

CNC Router

A router is a woodworking tool used to rout out (hollow out) an area in the face of a piece of wood. It was a tool particularly used by pattern makers and staircase makers and consisted of a broad-based wooden hand plane with a narrow blade projecting well beyond its base plate gaining it the nickname Old Woman’s Tooth. Since about 1960, it has been replaced by the modern spindle router, which was designed for the same work, although the first electric hand routers appeared in the years just after World War I. Further refinement produced the plunge router, invented by Elu (now part of deWalt) in Germany in the late 1940s. This is even better adapted for many types of work. Today, traditional hand-powered routers are often called router planes. Modern routers are often used in place of traditional moulding planes or spindle moulder machines for edge decoration (moulding) of timber. Related to the router, is a smaller lighter version designed specifically for trimming laminates. It can be used for smaller general routing work. For example with an appropriate jig it can be used recessing door hinges and recessing lock faceplates etc. A wood CNC Router is similar to a metal CNC mill with the following differences:The wood router typically spins faster — up to 24,000 RPM It typically uses smaller tools — typical shank size 20 mm or at most 25 mm. It typically uses smaller toolholders MK2 (Morse taper #2 – on older machines),ISO-30, HSK-63 or the tools just get held in a collet tool holder affixed directly to the spindle nose. ISO-30 and HSK-63 are rapid-change toolholding systems. HSK-63 has begun to supplant the ISO-30 as the rapid change standard in recent years Some wood routers have multiple separate heads that can come down simultaneously or not. This design is generally not as easy as a toolchanger with ISO-30 or HSK-63, though it is easier to maintain. A wood router table is controlled in the same way as a metal mill, but there is a lot of CAM software specifically for wood routers. Wood with different grain must be approached with unique strategies, and wood CAM software is less likely to need to have hog-out strategies than the metal ones. Wood routers are frequently used to machine other soft materials such as plastics at high speed.

CNC Milling Machine

April 20, 2007

CNC Milling
A milling machine is a machine tool used for the complex shaping of metal and other solid materials. Its basic form is that of a rotating cutter or endmill which rotates about the spindle axis (similar to a drill), and a movable table to which the workpiece is affixed. That is to say the cutting tool generally remains stationary (except for its rotation) while the workpiece moves to accomplish the cutting action. Milling machines may be operated manually or under computer numerical control (see CNC). Milling machines can perform a vast number of complex operations, such as slot cutting, planing, drilling, rebating, routing, etc. Cutting fluid is often pumped to the cutting site to cool and lubricate the cut, and to sluice away the resulting swarf.
There are two main types of mill: the vertical mill and the horizontal mill. In the vertical mill the spindle axis is vertically oriented. Milling cutters are held in the spindle and rotate on its axis. The spindle can generally be extended (or the table can be raised/lowered, giving the same effect), allowing plunge cuts and drilling. There are two subcategories of vertical mills: the bedmill and the turret mill. In a turret mill the spindle remains stationary during cutting operations and the table is moved both perpendicular to and parallel to the spindle axis to accomplish cutting. In the bedmill, however, the table moves only perpendicular to the spindle’s axis, while the spindle itself moves parallel to its own axis. Also of note is a lighter machine, called a mill-drill. It is quite popular with hobbyists, due to its small size and lower price. These are frequently of lower quality than other types of machines, however.
Most CNC milling machines or machining centers are computer controlled vertical mills with the ability to move the spindle vertically along the Z-axis. This extra degree of freedom permits their use in engraving applications, and also allows to create 2.5D surfaces such as relief sculptures. When combined with the use of conical tools or a ball nose cutter, it also significantly improves milling precision without impacting speed, providing a cost-efficient alternative to most flat-surface hand-engraving work.

CNC lathes

April 20, 2007

CNC Lathe

CNC Lathe and turningCNC lathes are rapidly replacing the older production lathes (multispindle, etc) due to their ease of setting and operation. They are designed to use modern carbide tooling and fully utilize modern processes. The part may be designed by the Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) process, the resulting file uploaded to the machine, and once set and trialled the machine will continue to turn out parts under the occasional supervision of an operator. The machine is controlled electronically via a computer menu style interface, the program may be modified and displayed at the machine, along with a simulated view of the process. The setter/operator needs a high level of skill to perform the process, however the knowledge base is broader compared to the older production machines where intimate knowledge of each machine was considered essential. These machines are often set and operated by the same person, where the operator will supervise a small number of machines (cell). The design of a CNC lathe has evolved yet again however the basic principles and parts are still recognisable, the turret holds the tools and indexes them as needed. The machines are totally enclosed, due in large part to Occupational health and safety (OH&S) issues. With the advent of cheap computers, free operating systems such as Linux, and open source CNC software, the entry price of CNC machines has plummeted. For example, Sherline makes a desktop CNC lathe that is affordable by hobbyists. Most CNC Swiss style lathes today utilize two spindles. The main spindle is used with the guide bushing for the main machining operations. The secondary spindle is located behind the part, aligned on the Z axis. In simple operation it picks up the part as it is cut off (or parted off) and ejects it into a bin, eliminating the need to have an operator manually change each part, as is often the case with standard CNC turning centers. This makes them very efficient, as these machines are capable of fast cycle times, producing simple parts in one operation in as little as 10-15 seconds. This makes them ideal for large production runs of small diameter parts.