For moldmakers with multi-axis machines, developing CNC programs that take full advantage of the capabilities of these machines can be challenging. The aim is to take full advantage of the movement of the machine's additional axes (table or tool post) in the most efficient way while giving the mold a good surface finish. Software products designed for multi-axis machines must be easy to use and error-correct. Since the materials, high-precision tools, and accessories used in these advanced machines are very expensive, even the smallest programming errors can cause significant damage.
The new principle for advanced machining functions is based on the idea that any 5 axis CNC machining function, no matter how complex, can be defined in a few simple steps. Moldmakers have taken a tried-and-true approach to set up mold production procedures:
(1) The area to be processed and the processing sequence. This step, based on the complexity of the part's shape, is often the easiest to inspire a skilled mechanic.
(2) What shape should the tool path in the five axis CNC machining area have? Whether the tool should make cuts in front-to-back or up-down order according to the parametric lines of the surface, using the surface boundaries as guides.
(3) Guide the tool axis to match the tool path. This is important for the quality of the surface finish and whether to use shorter hard cutters in tight spaces. Moldmakers need adequate control over the tool, including the rake and fore angles that occur when the tool is tilted. In addition, the angular limits created by the rotation of the table or tool holder of many machine tools must be considered. For example, there is a limit to the degree of rotation of milling and turning machines.
(4) Convert the cutting path of the tool. At the starting point of the tool path, control the displacement of the tool due to reset or generation and the displacement that the tool must generate between the machining areas. The displacement created by the conversion process is critical in mold production, as it removes test lines as well as tool marks (which can be removed by subsequent manual polishing).
A better way to develop CAM software is to follow a machinist's mind when they decide to perform 5 axis CNC machining of complex parts. Why break down 5 axis machining capabilities instead of developing a single programming process that is familiar and easy to understand for programmers? This advanced technology will eliminate the contradiction between powerful functionality and ease of use. By simplifying the multi-axis machining method into a unique function, users can quickly become proficient in taking full advantage of all the functions of the product.