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.
Posts about WinMax Conversational Programming (3):
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!
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.