CNC Machining Blog - Tips and Tricks for Machinists

Welcome to the Hurco CNC machine tool blog. Subscribe for weekly posts on high-speed and 5-axis machining, workholding, the latest control technologies, plus Hurco tips-and-tricks…just to name a few.

Boyce Technologies Producing 3,000 Bridge Ventilators

Mike Cope Mon, May 04, 2020
Boyce Technologies Producing 3,000 Bridge Ventilators

Hurco customer, Boyce Technologies (www.boycetechnologies.com/), based out of Long Island City, New York, designs and manufactures security and communications equipment for the mass transit market. This equipment includes emergency response systems, intercom systems, security alarm systems, radio and wireless networks, and customer information display systems. His company quickly pivoted to help fight COVID-19 by manufacturing bridge ventilators. Below is the article highlighting their effort.

The relationship between Boyce and Hurco began in 2008 when he purchased his first machine - a VMX30 vertical machining center - which was installed in his living room...no joke, read the article here! https://mfgnewsweb.com/archives/1/43469/Current-News-oct15/NYC-Entrepreneur-Makes-Largest-One-Time-Purchase.aspx .

Over time Boyce Technologies continued to grow, and to this date still holds the record for the most machines purchased in one transaction. Today they have a total of 21 Hurco machines in their facility, and have grown into a large commercial building, and out of the living room where things began. The Boyce Technologies story is truly one of success!

Liberty Molds Answers the Call to Help Combat COVID-19

Mike Cope Mon, Apr 13, 2020
Liberty Molds Answers the Call to Help Combat COVID-19

Liberty Molds is an injection mold shop located in Portage Michigan, and is in the business of producing injection molds for the automotive industry. The company is managed by the President Brian Scott and Vice President Jeff Dee. As it reads on their website, “Liberty Molds is an ISO 9001:2008 certified mold making tool shop who specializes in injection molds.” The company’s 13,400-square-foot shop has 30 employees, and they take great pride in partnering with their customers (like the Ford Motor Company) to meet quality, price, and delivery needs. I have a feeling that today’s current “needs” were never factored in when they wrote that statement so many years ago! But meeting the needs of our society today has rarely been more important. www.libertymolds.com

Is Conversational Programming Dead in Today's Machine Shop?

Mike Cope Wed, Feb 12, 2020
Is Conversational Programming Dead in Today's Machine Shop?

Is Conversational Programming Dead in Today's Machine Shop?

During my 35+ years in manufacturing, I have worked at several shops and visited hundreds more. In the vast majority of these job shops, there has been at least one CNC machine with some type of conversational programming – and in many of these shops, they used conversational programming for most of their work.

Veterans Day Video 2019

Maggie Smith Mon, Nov 11, 2019
Veterans Day Video 2019

I'm acting as guest blogger for Mike Cope today because he took a vacation day to honor veterans as he has done each Veterans' Day for the past 20 years. Mike has many interests, but he is passionate about patriotism and serving veterans and active duty military personnel. Therefore, he takes November 11th seriously...it is just one of the days during the year that he gives back to local veterans through honor and service.

Professionally, Mike is the go-to guy when it comes to understanding how the Hurco CNC control makes machinists more productive and shops more profitable. He knows the control inside and out, and helps all of us make sure the end user understands the value of the multitude of software features WinMax provides. 

Conversational CNC: 3D Solid Model Import 3 Axis & 5 Axis

Mike Cope Wed, Oct 10, 2018
Conversational CNC: 3D Solid Model Import 3 Axis & 5 Axis

The most frequent request we have received from customers over the past decade or so, has been for the ability to import a solid model directly into the CNC control and conversationally program features from that solid. Well...the wait is over. Hurco released the 3D Import feature at IMTS 2018 and it was a huge success. 

Hurco, Submarines, and the U.S. Navy - continued

Mike Cope Mon, Oct 08, 2018
Hurco, Submarines, and the U.S. Navy - continued

 

This past weekend I was lucky enough to attend the commissioning of the US Navy’s newest nuclear submarine, the USS INDIANA. In January of 2017 I posted an article about getting to meet the crew of the Indiana; in September she was christened, and now, after the September 29th ceremony, she is a full-blown US Navy vessel! For the ceremony the US Navy activated a 100 year old Captain – who was an original Plank-Owner (original crew member) of the previous USS INDIANA battle ship – to pass the official ship’s telescope to the skipper of the current USS INDIANA.

It was awesome to see the support provided to this effort by the entire state of Indiana. As the name-sake for this amazing boat (the Navy calls submarines “boats” and not ships) the state of Indiana stepped up in a big way. All 92 counties provided something for the crew of the Indiana. Individuals and clubs or organizations worked countless hours on gifts and donations. Dining tables complete with an Indiana collegiate sports theme, made from Indiana sourced veneer will adorn the mess hall. A humidor and three poker sets – all hand-crafted from oak wood sourced in Constitution Grove located in Crane, Indiana - will give the officers and crew something to do in their down time. A teak wood bar top – made from a section of the actual deck of the WWII era USS INDIANA BB58 – will be placed in the Chief’s lounge and will offer them many hours of “recreation” to help pass the time. Purdue University also provided a beautiful replica of the Bicentennial torch that was carried all across the state during the Bicentennial celebrations.  

In addition to providing machines to the companies who actually built the USS INDIANA, Hurco’s involvement was also a bit more personal. The insignia of the US Submarine service is a warfare pin that includes a submarine flanked by two dolphins (fish not mammal) on either side. These pins are symbolic within the community of submariners, and synonymous with submarines throughout the Navy. As Hurco’s contribution we machined a set of these dolphins for each member of the USS INDIANA crew…and since the state of Indiana is known for limestone, we machined the symbolic dolphins out of Indiana limestone!

For anyone who might want to watch the entire ceremony, here is a link to the US NAVY official video...hint, the good stuff starts around 59:50 mark: 

 

Below are some pictures of many of the items donated to the crew of the USS INDIANA:

 

Hurco WinMax Control Enhancements and Overlooked Features

Mike Cope Wed, Oct 25, 2017
Hurco WinMax Control Enhancements and Overlooked Features

There have been a number of enhancements on the Hurco WinMax control in the past few months and years that we never really get to share with our customers. The Hurco control is so easy to use and easy to self-teach that often times there are overlooked features that could be extremely useful and very powerful if operators knew about them. I thought this would be a great topic for a blog article to help our users find and understand these features if they weren’t previously aware of them.

Hurco DIY: measuring 5-axis trunnion centerlines

Mike Cope Wed, Apr 26, 2017
Hurco DIY: measuring 5-axis trunnion centerlines

Anyone who runs a 5-axis machine knows how important accurate centerline measurements can be for accurate machining. Often times, however, when troubleshooting process issues, or after a slight “bump” of the machine, there might be a need to verify or re-measure these centerline values. This usually requires a costly service call, and, even more painful, costly downtime of the machine while waiting. Although there is no substitute for the accuracy of the certified kit used by Hurco and distributor service personnel, this procedure will hopefully allow customers to keep their machines up and running (even if it is only while waiting for the service technician to arrive).

Hurco, Submarines, and the U.S. Navy

Mike Cope Thu, Jan 12, 2017
Hurco, Submarines, and the U.S. Navy

Earlier this week, a few of us here at Hurco were invited to a local function to meet the command staff of a newly commissioned Virginia Class Nuclear Submarine, for the U.S. Navy, named after our very own Hoosier state - the USS INDIANA…and, as it was written on the picture below, by the skipper of the Indiana, Commander Jesse Zimbauer, this submarine is “Hurco made”.

Veterans Day Video 2016

Maggie Smith Fri, Nov 11, 2016
Veterans Day Video 2016

I'm acting as guest blogger for Mike Cope today because he took a vacation day to honor veterans as he has done each Veterans' Day for the past 17 years with his best buddy and Navy veteran Dave. Mike has many interests, but he is passionate about patriotism and serving veterans and active duty military personnel. Therefore, he takes November 11th seriously...it is just one of the days during the year that he gives back to local veterans through honor and service.

Professionally, Mike is the go-to guy when it comes to understanding how the Hurco control makes machinists more productive and shops more profitable. He knows the control inside and out, and helps all of us make sure the end user understands the value of the multitude of software features WinMax provides. 

Flood Warning: a Fantastic Aftermarket Coolant ring for Hurco VM Machines

Mike Cope Fri, Sep 23, 2016
Flood Warning: a Fantastic Aftermarket Coolant ring for Hurco VM Machines

One of the features about a Hurco that many customers love is the 8-nozzle coolant ring that comes standard on all VMX models of vertical machining centers, and the amount and flow of the flood coolant that can be experienced is sometimes unbelievable to many new users. Now Hurco VM owners can experience this same overwhelming feeling of flood coolant!

5-Axis CNC: Programming 5-Axis Transform Planes Using IJK UVW Vectors

Mike Cope Mon, May 09, 2016
5-Axis CNC: Programming 5-Axis Transform Planes Using IJK UVW Vectors

A while back I received a comment on one of my previous blog posts – “5-Axis Programming: programming with tool vectors”-  asking about how to designate a 5-axis Transform Planes using IJK UVW vector tokens, instead of the traditional ABC rotary axis designations on their 5-axis CNC machine. Instead of just replying to that comment, I thought I would write this post as a response. Since this will be a continuation of the 5-axis CNC basics series, I suggest that you read and understand using IJK tool vectors as a pre-cursor to this article. 

The idea behind creating a 5-axis transform plane using vectors is exactly the same as programming tool movement with IJK tool vectors on any machine with a 5th axis; however, the difference lies in the fact that you will have two separate vectors…using IJK for one and UVW for the second one. The reason you need two separate “legs” for this function, is because you cannot designate a plane with only one axis. I will use the floor inside a room as my analogy…you could not create a floor in a room without having at least two walls. With only one, the floor would simply spin around that single axis, and could actually point in literally any direction. To accommodate the two legs of the transform plane, and because we want to determine the direction of the Z-axis ultimately, we will use the X-axis and Y-axis as our legs, or walls of the desired transform plane.

Explaining Hurco’s Select Surface Finish Quality (SFQ)

Mike Cope Fri, Jan 29, 2016
Explaining Hurco’s Select Surface Finish Quality (SFQ)

Today’s Hurco users are well aware of the term SFQ, or Select Surface Finish Quality, on the Hurco control, and probably have a pretty good idea about which settings work best for them – however, many of them probably don’t realize what is actually going on behind the scenes, and what those settings actually mean or how they affect the machine’s behavior.

Tooling Partners - G.W. Shultz

Mike Cope Mon, Jan 18, 2016
Tooling Partners - G.W. Shultz

Over the years, Hurco has partnered with many tooling companies. Recently I received a link from G.W. Shultz, that showed a video of one of thier tools cutting 422 Stainless Steel, on a Hurco VMX30HSi High Speed milling machine - at some pretty impressive speeds. The information listed in the video comment section says: "Pushing the G.W. Schultz Tool HGW40250-01 to 1000SFM in 422 Stainless Steel".

Veteran's Day Video

Maggie Smith Wed, Nov 11, 2015
Veteran's Day Video

I'm acting as guest blogger for Mike Cope today because he took a vacation day to honor veterans as he has done each Veteran's Day for the past 17 years with his best buddy and Navy veteran Dave. Mike has many interests, but he is passionate about patriotism and serving veterans and active duty military personnel. Therefore, he takes Veteran's Day seriously...it is just one of the days during the year that he gives back to local veterans through honor and service. Professionally, Mike is the go-to guy when it comes to understanding how the Hurco control makes machinists more productive and shops more profitable. He knows the control inside and out, and helps all of us make sure the end user understands the value of the multitude of software features WinMax provides. 

5-Axis…it just ain’t that scary (continued)

Mike Cope Fri, Jun 12, 2015
5-Axis…it just ain’t that scary (continued)

In February of 2013 I posted an article titled: “5-Axis…it just ain’t that scary”, and to date it has been one of the most popularly read articles in my blog series. So, I thought I would expand on that article a little bit, and dive a little deeper into what can be done with 5-axis technology…and show how even the advanced features of 5-axis really aren't anything more than multi-axis common sense, when you break it down.

We Took Five for 5-axis…will you?

Mike Cope Fri, May 29, 2015

Take_5_For_5_Axis

Hurco recently partnered with Modern Machine Shop magazine for an educational online 5-axis webinar, called: “Take Five for 5-Axis. It was very well received by everyone who attended, and the feedback afterward was outstanding. In this webinar, I try to present this information in a very simple way, and attempt to explain things in a manner that even those who have no history of 5-axis machining can understand it. After all, that was the intention…to educate and teach!

Should you buy new or used? What's the ROI of training?

Maggie Smith Mon, Apr 06, 2015
Should you buy new or used? What's the ROI of training?

INTRODUCTION:

Hi...I'm Maggie and I'm hi-jacking Mike's blog this week. As the Product Technical Specialist, Mike visits shops throughout the USA. Last month, he got stuck in the Northeast during one of many snow events that region has experienced. When he got back to the office, he told us about his trip and I thought it would be good information to share with his readers.

Automation: it's not just for high production

Mike Cope Fri, Nov 07, 2014
Automation: it's not just for high production

When people hear the term “automation”, it usually conjures visions of high production processes, where shops are running hundreds of thousands of the same part. But in today’s ever-changing and increasingly competitive industry that is not always the case. Just like many small job shops have begun to migrate toward 5-axis machines to increase multi-sided part efficiency, those same shops are also beginning to move toward automation to help them increase profits and impact their bottom line.

To understand and begin this migration toward automation, you first must understand and “buy-in” to the ideas of standardization and palletization. Winning in the game of “high-mix, low-volume” part manufacturing means reducing spindle downtime, and the first step towards winning that battle is standardizing your setup process. …after all, at the end of the day you can only invoice for the parts that you have completed. So reducing the idle time between jobs is a crucial step to getting more done in a typical eight hour shift.

Improving Workpiece Surface Finish

Mike Cope Fri, Jun 27, 2014
Improving Workpiece Surface Finish

As machinists we apply our skill, knowledge and experience to produce the best looking and most accurate parts that we can. We take a great deal of pride in the products that we produce, and we want others to see that pride in the finished product. But what do we do when we aren’t getting the results that we want? When dimensionally the parts meet blueprint specifications, but the surface finish and overall appearance is less than desirable? When this happens we need to go back the basics and ensure that we are using the best machining practices that we know to be correct.

CNC Lathe Considerations: Bed Design

Mike Cope Thu, Feb 13, 2014
CNC Lathe Considerations: Bed Design

In the last article we discussed the questions that you should be asking yourself when buying a CNC lathe, and we discussed some of the common terminology associated with CNC turning. In this article I would like to build on the topic of purchasing considerations, and want to discuss the ins and outs of the two main bed designs – the true slant bed and the flatbed “flying wedge” configurations.

CNC Lathe Considerations & Terminology

Mike Cope Wed, Jan 22, 2014
CNC Lathe Considerations & Terminology

When purchasing a CNC lathe, there are several questions that you need to ask yourself before you begin the process. Some of these questions will be quite obvious: How much axis travel do I need? What size chuck should I look for? How many tool stations are on the turret? What is the spindle bore size? Etc... However, there are other specifications that are just as important, but not always so obvious: What is the maximum swing distance that my work will require? What is the maximum turning diameter necessary for my family of parts? What kind of spindle horsepower and torque will my type of work consume? The first set of questions above is relatively easy to answer, but the second group requires a better understanding of lathes in general.

5-Axis Purchasing Considerations: size does matter

Mike Cope Fri, Dec 20, 2013
5-Axis Purchasing Considerations: size does matter

There are several things to keep in mind when you are in the market for a new 5-axis machining center. To be successful, you must make sure that the machine will fit all of your needs, not just your current one. Often times the purchase of a 5-axis machine is driven by a particular job or part, and sometimes shops fail to consider the other work they could run on the machine. Remember, size does matter.

The History of Hurco: Part 2. An interview with Mr. Roch

Maggie Smith Fri, Nov 08, 2013

Last week, I posted Part 1 of our History of Hurco video series, where we learned about all of the events—good and bad—that led Mr. Roch to start a business with his boss at the time, Ed Humston. Mr. Roch ended up working in sales for Ed Humston who owned E.L. Humston Company when he quit his job as an industrial engineer at EMPCO in protest of the company president’s, who he believed was making a number of missteps—and his father owned 30 percent of the company, which made the situation even more awkward.

Is High Speed Machining The Right Choice For My Shop?

Mike Cope Fri, Nov 01, 2013
Is High Speed Machining The Right Choice For My Shop?

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???

Happy Birthday Hurco - 45 years

Maggie Smith Thu, Oct 31, 2013
Happy Birthday Hurco - 45 years

I couldn't let the month of October end without acknowledging our 45th birthday...it was October of 1968 when Mr. Roch asked Mr. Humston if he wanted to start a shop. Hurco co-founder, Gerald V. Roch, inventor of CNC and conversational progamming, sat down with me so I could document our company's founding…and he didn't "sugarcoat" it. He talked about failed product launches, financial challenges, and the times he feared the company would fold. During the coming weeks, we will post different parts of the interview with Mr. Roch. To skip the blog article and go straight to the video, scroll to the bottom!

Part & Tool Probing in a High-mix Low Volume Environment

Mike Cope Fri, Oct 25, 2013
Part & Tool Probing in a High-mix Low Volume Environment

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.

Uncle Sam's Section 179 Tax Deduction for 2013

Maggie Smith Thu, Oct 24, 2013
Uncle Sam's Section 179 Tax Deduction for 2013

It's that time of year again...figuring out how to keep more of your money for your business. Our friends at Tech Financial sent us the latest information on this year's Section 179 Federal Income Tax Deduction...it's not as great as the 2011 Section 179, but it's still money in your pocket. REMEMBER, we are not accountants so please check with your accountant to confirm eligibility for tax benefits.

Top Shops 2013: What's Their Secret?

Maggie Smith Wed, Oct 02, 2013
Top Shops 2013: What's Their Secret?

Earlier this year, I reviewed the results from the Benchmarking Report by Modern Machine Shop called TOP SHOPS and promised to give you an update when the 2013 results were published. This blog post only touches on a fraction of the information contained in this incredibly extensive report—the Executive Summary alone is 22 pages—so I encourage you to explore Modern Machine Shop’s TOP SHOPS ZONE

3D Printing: will it replace traditional manufacturing?

Mike Cope Fri, Sep 20, 2013
3D Printing: will it replace traditional manufacturing?

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.

Mill-Turn Turret Shootout: VDI vs. BMT

Mike Cope Tue, Sep 03, 2013
Mill-Turn Turret Shootout: VDI vs. BMT

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.

5-Axis CNC Machine Configurations: the pros and cons of machine design

Mike Cope Mon, Aug 19, 2013
5-Axis CNC Machine Configurations: the pros and cons of machine design

Regardless of a particular OEM machine tool builder, there are several common machine configurations for 5-axis CNC machines 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.

5-Axis Programming: programming with tool vectors?

Mike Cope Mon, Jun 24, 2013
5-Axis Programming: programming with tool vectors?

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.

Auto Recovery Restart: the easiest way to recover a stopped program

Mike Cope Fri, Jun 14, 2013
Auto Recovery Restart: the easiest way to recover a stopped program

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.

Resources You Can Use: a list of helpful shop products

Mike Cope Fri, Jun 07, 2013
Resources You Can Use: a list of helpful shop products

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.

Absolute Tool Length: the industry standard

Mike Cope Thu, May 30, 2013
Absolute Tool Length: the industry standard

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.

Using Subprograms: a powerfully simple tool

Mike Cope Fri, May 24, 2013
Using Subprograms: a powerfully simple tool

I was recently asked by a reader to post an article about using subprograms. Although this is a pretty simple subject, it made me realize that not everyone is familiar with the use of subprograms and subroutines, so why not offer my input. I will also touch on the use of Hurco’s conversational NC Merge capability…which is powerfully simple and very useful!

Mill Turn Technology: understanding live-tool orientations

Mike Cope Tue, May 21, 2013
Mill Turn Technology: understanding live-tool orientations

In the last blog article we touched on the basics of mill-turning technology. Today I would like to build on that basic foundation. One area of confusion to many operators is tooling – especially the tool holder orientation descriptions (radial tools vs. axial tools). Hopefully we can clear that up a little bit for some of you who struggle with it. I would also like to discuss the use of different tooling options to conserve turret stations when running parts that have lots of features and cutting operations. Machining intricate parts without running out of tooling stations is a common struggle when creating parts on a mill-turn machine.

An Introduction to Mill-Turn Technology

Mike Cope Mon, May 13, 2013
An Introduction to Mill-Turn Technology

On a pretty regular basis I am asked to explain something pertaining to live tool machining on a lathe - or Mill-Turn as it is commonly referred to in the industry. Even people with a CNC turning background are sometimes a little confused and can find their understanding a bit cloudy…especially in the areas of tooling, and when the use of an additional Y-axis is necessary. In this article I will try to shine some light on the basics of live tool machining, and the application of the optional Y-axis. In a future article, I will discuss tooling, toolholders, tool orientations, and the differences between VDI and BMT turrets. 

Put Your Shop on the Fast Track with UltiMotion

Mike Cope Fri, May 03, 2013
Put Your Shop on the Fast Track with UltiMotion

A few months ago I posted an article explaining the CNC motion control system, and how it works. In that article I tried to keep it very simple and breakdown a quite complex piece of technology into an easy to understand analogy…today I want to discuss it in a little more detail, and point out some exciting advances in motion control technology.

5-Axis Buzz Words: learn the lingo

Mike Cope Mon, Apr 15, 2013
5-Axis Buzz Words: learn the lingo

Just like any other form of technology within our industry, 5-axis manufacturing has its very own vocabulary and list of technical buzz words. Although many of the features described below can be viewed as common, some are only found on the more advanced machine controls. For anyone looking into 5-axis machining, understanding these buzz words can be a huge benefit - and just might keep them from making an uneducated decision that they might live to regret later on.

Hurco...Easy To Use in Any Language

Mike Cope Tue, Apr 02, 2013
Hurco...Easy To Use in Any Language

A common misconception about the Hurco control is that it is a conversational control. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Although Hurco invented conversational programming - and arguably has the most powerful conversationally capable platform on the market - I certainly would not refer to the WinMax control as a “conversational” one…I would, instead, call it “multi-lingual”.

Choose Your Weapon Wisely: which 5-axis strategy is best for you?

Mike Cope Fri, Mar 22, 2013
Choose Your Weapon Wisely: which 5-axis strategy is best for you?

Just like the plethora of tool axis and collision control parameters that we discussed in last week’s blog article, CAM systems also have a diverse selection of toolpath strategies to choose from - and each of them have their appropriate place in 5-axis. But just like everything else in multi-axis programming, the programmers experience, and the actual machine configuration will play a big part in the selection of the suitable toolpath for a particular application. As I mentioned before, if you asked ten different programmers to program the same part, the outcome is likely to be ten completely different machining strategies. Other factors, like the number of pieces to be machined, the allotted time for completing the project, the specified material, and available tooling can also play a significant role in the toolpath selection process; but the skill level and experience of the programmer will always have the greatest impact.

5-Axis Programming: understanding tool axis and collision controls

Mike Cope Mon, Mar 18, 2013
5-Axis Programming: understanding tool axis and collision controls

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. 

The CNC Motion Control System Simplified

Mike Cope Fri, Mar 01, 2013
The CNC Motion Control System Simplified

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.

5-Axis…it just ain’t that scary

Mike Cope Thu, Feb 21, 2013
5-Axis…it just ain’t that scary

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!

Programming 3D Geometry without CAD/CAM Software

Mike Cope Tue, Feb 12, 2013
Programming 3D Geometry without CAD/CAM Software

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!

High Speed Machining: it’s more than just a faster spindle

Mike Cope Thu, Jan 31, 2013
High Speed Machining: it’s more than just a faster spindle

 High speed machining is usually associated with any spindle speed above 15k rpm, but it is much more than just a faster spindle. The whole machine must be considered when selecting a good candidate machine for HSM. Thermal compensation, overall machine rigidity and construction, positional feedback, the motion control system, tool retention, and many other characteristics must be looked at, in detail, before determining that a particular machine is suitable for the task.

5-Axis Return on Investment Worksheet

Mike Cope Fri, Jan 25, 2013

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?

5-Axis Accuracy: understanding and overcoming the challenges

Mike Cope Mon, Jan 21, 2013
5-Axis Accuracy: understanding and overcoming the challenges

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.

5-Axis Workholding

Mike Cope Fri, Jan 04, 2013
5-Axis Workholding

For anyone new to 5-axis machining, it should quickly become apparent that fixturing can be one of the single most challenging tasks that you will face during the setup process. Although there are many different styles of professionally manufactured workholding devices available, from a variety of different manufacturers - like Kurt, Raptor Workholding, Lang, Jergens, Bock, Hirschmann, and System 3R just to name a few - creativity is the name of the game.

Hurco's NC Merge: the best of both worlds

Mike Cope Thu, Dec 20, 2012
Hurco's NC Merge: the best of both worlds

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.

Reduce Programming Time with Enhanced Corner Geometry

Basilios Dimitrelias Tue, Nov 20, 2012
Reduce Programming Time with Enhanced Corner Geometry

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.

Easier 5-Axis Programming with ASR

Mike Cope Fri, Oct 19, 2012
Easier 5-Axis Programming with ASR


Hurco’s patented ASR feature (Automatic Safe Repositioning) is a very powerful tool for 5-axis NC or CAM programmers. One of the biggest problems when posting 5-axis NC code is configuring the post to always output safe, reliable data to reposition the tool-tip without causing the machine to travel out of limits on rapid moves, and to display those annoying error codes that we all love to hate.

Become More Productive with Absolute Tool Length

Mike Cope Thu, Oct 18, 2012
Become More Productive with Absolute Tool Length

There are a number of features built into today’s modern CNC controls that are designed to make life easier for the programmer, and each of these has its own special place in our personal box of “go-to” tools; tools that we use to be more productive. For me, Hurco’s Absolute Tool Length feature is one of those tools that I just can’t live without…and why would I want to?

The Hurco blog - an introduction

Mike Cope Wed, Oct 17, 2012
The Hurco blog - an introduction

​Hello, and welcome to the Hurco blog. I will be updating and posting something new each week on a variety of different subject matter: high-speed and 5-axis machining, workholding, the latest control technologies, and Hurco tips-and-tricks…just to name a few.

Subscribe to the Machinists Blog