ModuleWorks, the leading supplier of CAD/CAM components for 3-5-Axis toolpath generation and simulation, have been showing how their latest techniques for automated 3-5 axis (tilt) toolpath conversion with new smoothing methods to improve surface finish.
3-5 Axis toolpath conversion is a well established machining method and good when machining deep cores and cavities. By tilting the tool over during cutting, collisions can be avoided and shorter series cutters can be employed which leads to improved surface finish.
ModuleWorks continue to innovate in this area with recent releases offering a host of new features to increase automation and increase performance and toolpath quality. The latest versions can also be used with STL (mesh) as well as traditional surface geometry.
The recent 2009.9 release has introduced new smoothing methods that can be applied to both the tilt and rotary elements of the toolpath. Originally a requirement for STL data where triangulation can give inconsistencies in the toolpath, the new smoothing delivers dramatic improvements to the toolpath on all geometry.
The effects of smoothing can be seen in the before and after images shown above and below. The images above show the benefits of smoothing tilt axis movement while rotary axis smoothing is shown left. In both cases a smoother transition with fewer tilt and rotational changes can be seen giving a much better toolpath and surface finish.
David Plater, Technical Director for ModuleWorks comments “We’re constantly looking for innovations to improve toolpath quality and these latest smoothing methods have done just that. We’re seeing more demand for 5-Axis machining on STL geometry and the triangulation presents some additional challenges to our developers – advanced smoothing methods are some of the solution to these challenges”.