CNC Machining Blog
When we hear the term "High Speed Machining" (HSM), most people associate it with mold making, but what people fail to realize is that this technology is being used effectively by shops of every kind to positively impact the bottom line...and isn't that what everyone wants???
In today’s industry it’s all about quick setup and changeover between parts...especially in an environment where you run a high-mix of low volumes. In this article I want to discuss how part and tool probing can offer a real advantage for the shops that find themselves in this type of environment.
For the past ten years or so, we have seen 3D printing technology – also called Additive Manufacturing – really gain momentum in the industry. In fact, it has become so common-place that there has been speculation by some that it might actually replace traditional manufacturing in the not so distant future. Although I can see many benefits of this amazing new technology, and although I do agree that it will someday impact our lives – such as how we, as consumers, acquire many common household items - I have my reservations about how much it will ultimately change the need for traditional manufacturing processes as we know them. Because of the limitations on mixing printing materials, and the fact that the materials available for use in printing are not always the best for a particular application - not everything that can be printed, should be printed.
A few months ago I published a two-part series on the basics of mill-turn technology, where I covered topics such as: axis configurations, the orientation of live tooling holders, mill-turn terminology, instances when a Y-axis might be necessary, etc… In today’s article I want to discuss the differences between the driven tool mounting configurations, and offer my opinions on the benefits and challenges associated with each one.
Regardless of a particular OEM machine builder, there are several common machine configurations for 5-axis that are available - and each one has its own set of strengths that make it stand out among the choices. The most common types are: Table-Table, Head-Table, and Head-Head configurations.
When programming in 5-axis, we have two distinct options that we can use to command rotary moves and positions. We can output the data using either rotary angles, or tool vectors. Although each one has its pros and cons, I would prefer to configure a postprocessor to output these rotary commands as IJK tool vectors, instead of the more common ABC axis rotary angles, if given a choice.
Have you ever had to abruptly stop your machine, in the middle of running a program, and wished there was a way to recover exactly where you left off - even if you were in the middle of all that code? For years Hurco’s Recovery Restart feature offered operators a way to just that…but you had to know exactly what block you ended on to recover. Well not anymore! The WinMax version 9 software – which was released at IMTS last year – offers a new feature that will automatically insert a restart marker at the exact location of the last block executed before the interruption - which relives the pressure on the operator to remember (or guess) what block to restart program.
As machinists we are all aware of the standard tools of our trade; however, there are other non-standard tools available - that not everyone is aware of - that could be very helpful in our day-to-day life in the shop. Just like any other industry, if there is a time consuming and mundane procedure that must be completed, you can bet that somewhere there is someone who has already invented a tool or device that would make that task easier…if we only knew where to go to find those tools.
As many of you are already aware, the Absolute Tool Length method of tool calibration has become the industry standard for measuring and recording the length of individual cutting tools on milling machines. This method of tool measurement not only produces numerical values that make sense to the operator, and can easily be verified with a pocket scale, but will also allow for tool lengths to be set offline using a presetter - and then the data can simply be entered into the tool setup for that particular tool…helping to reduce setup time at the machine.