If you asked ten different 5-axis programmers to program the same single part, you would most likely get ten different machining strategies. Depending on experience, machine configuration, CAM software, tooling, workholding, and a myriad of other criteria everyone sees the path they need to travel just a little bit differently. But they all lead to the same place…a successfully completed part. This article will be part one in a multi-part series about 5-axis programming.
CNC Machining Blog
I was recently asked to explain the motion control system, used in CNC machine tools, to someone in my family. Realizing that this individual didn’t have a background in manufacturing at all – and certainly had no experience with anything this complicated and technical – I had to relate my explanation to something common and simple, allowing them to easily visualize the analogy….like driving a car.
For some reason 5-axis machining just scares people. While talking with people at trade shows, or when discussing the potential of a customer’s parts being a good fit for 5-sided machining, you can just see an uneasy feeling begin to overwhelm them, and you can see the fear begin to well up in their eyes. The mere thought of all of those axes moving at one time, sends them wanting to run for the hills. But if we take the time to look at it logically, and break it down to what is really happening, it isn’t scary at all!
For many years Hurco has offered an easy conversational solution for programming simple 3D geometries, at the control, without the need for expensive CAD/CAM software…but with today’s WinMax control it’s even easier and more powerful than ever before!
If the past few years have taught us anything, it's that the addition of 5-axis technology - even in shops that only run "3-axis" work - can positively impact a company’s bottom line. On average, shops who take advantage of this technology have seen improvements of 20% to 30% in efficiency. Imagine…what would a twenty to thirty percent reduction in cycle time and setup time - on a part that you are already running in your shop - mean to you?
Even though 5-axis machining has become much more prevalent in today’s manufacturing market place, and although the overall knowledge base of machinists and operators has grown by leaps and bounds over the past several years, there is still a great deal of misunderstanding and mystery surrounding accuracy – both as it applies to the workpiece itself, and also how the overall positioning of the rotary axes of the machine might be effected.
Hurco is well known for our powerful and easy to use conversational software; and for 2D and simple 3D geometries, the WinMax conversational control simply can’t be beat. But what about those jobs that share both simple 2D features and complicated 3D shapes - that can only be programmed using CAD/CAM software? Well, Hurco has an answer for that as well.
In the past, when programming rectangular shaped geometries on the Hurco control, in which the four corners weren’t square or didn’t all have the same size radii, the feature needed to be programmed using a Milling Lines & Arcs data block. However, with the introduction of the latest WinMax mill software, this obstacle has become a thing of the past.
Have you ever needed to make the same dimensional change to multiple conversational blocks in the same program…and cringed at the thought of tediously changing them one at a time? Well, cringe no more! Hurco’s Modify Dimension function makes this a simple task.