I often travel to different areas of the country to visit existing Hurco shops, as well as talk with shop owners who are thinking about purchasing their first Hurco, but have some questions. …I say FIRST Hurco, because nobody ever buys just ONE Hurco!
Posts about Milling:
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).
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!
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.