Monday, March 10, 2014
The folks at eapprentice.net are putting on another great Mastercam webinar this Wednesday. It's going to covering 5 axis CNC Programming in Mastercam and, as always, it is free to attend.
5 axis machining is quickly becoming the industry standard. Join Mastercam's own Colin Gilchrist and Derek Goodwin of eapprentice, together with a panel of industry experts as they discuss how to successfully implement 5 axis CNC machining in your shop.
Purchasing a machine tool is just the beginning. You need to re-think the way you work to unlock the full potential of your investment. Utilizing a CAD/CAM system and linking to your machine with a post processor is the critical first step.
Derek will discuss the challenges of implementing 5 axis for the first time in a shop and Colin will discuss how to build your own 5 axis post processor, including a preview of his upcoming post processing course.
Title: 5 axis programming with Mastercam
Date: Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Time: 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM PDT
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
Friday, March 7, 2014
Competition restrictions/guidelines: entrants must be between the ages of 16 and 25 years old and have access to a machine shop to cut their entry part.
Prizes for this competition include:
- $1,000 plus a FREE seat of Mastercam Mill Level 1
- An expenses-paid trip for the winner and a guest to the Kennedy Space Center
- Machine it "as-is" and be creative on the underside (add a logo, a picture, etc.)
- Try to modify the design with a goal of making the mirror lighter, but still retain its structure and use
For more information on IOF including part specifications and to download the official entry form, please visit www.mastercam.com/iof.
We also have a special IOF Classroom Kit that includes a competition prospectus, a poster to hang in your classroom, flyers to hang around your school, and IOF magnets for your machines. To request your IOF Classroom Kit, please email IOF@mastercam.com with your name, school name, school address, phone number, and the number of students in your program.
We look forward to seeing the parts come in this Spring.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Mastercam Port Expert creates accurate, efficient engine cylinder headporting toolpaths on port surface or solid data. It minimizes unnecessary motion at the machine, which results in a highly efficient toolpath with superior finish quality. It can also be used for any tube type work that is similar in design to a port. Port Expert uses a tapered lollipop tool, and has collision checks for the entire tool (shank, arbor, and holder).
There are multiple cutting options available with Mastercam Port Expert. You can cut only the top; cut only the bottom; or specify how much stock to leave on the entire port. The Port Expert toolpaths use 3-axis machining as far into the port as possible, and then convert automatically to 5-axis motion with minimum tilt. This leaves no fishtails or inefficient reverse moves, and smoothly transitions where the toolpaths meet at the middle of the port.
Some features include:
- Provides both roughing and finishing toolpaths to make ports from castings or billets.
- Geometry can be made of multiple surfaces that are stitched together since Port Expert supports unlimited surfaces.
- Automatically calculates optimal tilt angles so there is no need to split the surface or create tool axis control splines.
- Simulation proceeds step-by-step through the toolpath, even showing the motion used in transition at the middle of the port.
See Mastercam Port Expert in action in the video below.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
An ongoing series from the Mastercam R&D machine shop.
The part was originally pie-cut sections of stainless steel tubing welded together, with mounting flanges welded on the ends.
Monday, March 3, 2014
Swiss machines can be complex. With multiple spindles, work pieces, tool turrets, and operations moving and interacting simultaneously, they can pose challenges to efficient programming. Mastercam Swiss Expert streamlines Swiss programming. It’s completely solids based, with no need to create additional geometry for driving toolpaths. You can even import and use intermediate files and models that show the part at different stages of production.
Mastercam Swiss Expert is designed to control a variety of Swiss-style NC machines, and is popular with watch-making, medical device, dental, automotive, and electronics companies—all known for the requirement of extremely small but very precise parts. Developed in our new CNC Software office, located in the region of Switzerland where Swiss-style machines were invented, it is known for supporting an unlimited number of axes and channels, and for realistic simulation of the entire machine and its tools.
Tools for Easy Programming
Efficient cutting means more than just programming a toolpath. Swiss Expert gives you the tools you need to streamline your process, such as:
- A complete understanding of your machine for easier programming, from toolpaths to synchronization to simulation.
- Save tools and cutting strategies into libraries for future use on similar or families of parts.
Mastercam Swiss Expert lets you safely simulate your project on a virtual machine before it reaches your shop floor. A few features include:
- Full simulation of every moving part of your machine, including material, main and sub spindles, all tool holders, and part handling devices.
- Automatic collision detection to detect collisions before damaging expensive equipment.
Mastercam Swiss Expert has all of the tools necessary to graphically optimize part cycle times and avoid collisions. A few features the Sync Manager provides are:
- Drag, drop, and sync operations to one another.
- View all machining patterns and modify them on the fly if necessary.
- Expand and contract the timeline for trouble-free viewing of the part process.
Tool ManagementA Swiss machine’s tooling presents its own set of challenges. Mastercam Swiss Expert gives you all of the flexibility you need to meet these challenges in a powerful tool management environment. You can:
- Select tools from our large library of pre-defined tools or create your own.
- Access tools used in previous projects and choose specialized tool holders from the library of machine-specific components.
Watch Mastercam Swiss Expert in action in the video below.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
While studying for an Engineering Technology degree at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, students have the opportunity to go beyond traditional metalworking curricula and enter the interesting world of metal casting.
Initial project undertaken by the PSU engineering students. Educational AND useful!
Following a course in manual machining, they are introduced to automated machining where they have access to forty seats of Mastercam and CNC machine tools that include milling centers and an abrasive water jet cutting system. According to Assistant Professor Jacob Lehman, after the students learn programming for 2D work for the CNC mills and water jet system, they get into the more complex programming of 3D tool paths for the tooling used in PSU’s metal casting program.
Students prepare for programming a bottle opener casting mold.
This program is nationally known and every Spring, PSU hosts the Investment Casting Institute’s International Training Session for industry certification. They have multiple ways to melt metal at PSU, including resistance electric, gas fired and induction furnaces. Mr. Lehman says that using Mastercam software results in precise tool paths needed to take advantage of the benefits of investment castings:
intricate forms with undercuts may be cast; a very smooth surface reflects the smooth tooling; there is no parting line; and the cast part has good dimensional accuracy.
Assistant Professor Jacob Lehman helps a student with his mold.
Pittsburg State University’s placement record has been running at 100%. Their students go on to great jobs in the metal casting industry, as well as in manufacturing companies of all sizes. According to Mr. Lehman, their program, that includes Mastercam, fosters a good work ethic and gives the students the tools they need to succeed in automated manufacturing.
Final steps - students produce their molds.
Monday, February 24, 2014
However, when the step-over is less than 50%, the chip width becomes progressively smaller as the stepover decreases
Why is it important to know this? Because most of the heat generated in the tool and the steel part is removed, not by coolant, but by the chips. If you decide (for good reasons) to use stepovers smaller than 50%, you will need to run at a faster feed rate to get the chip thickness back up to target. If you are not cutting at the targeted chip thickness, your heat management will be off because the chips do not have the mass needed to retain the heat, pull it away from the tool and part, and put it into the chip pile.
Chips are the primary driver of heat removal. Traditional cutting yields larger chips with good heat removal capacity.
Here is one practical application of this knowledge: Say you are programming a part to run at 35 in/min at a 50% stepover, but the tool may be long or the material very tough, so you decide to run a little bit lighter on the tool by reducing the stepover to 30 or 40%. To compensate for the thinning effect, you should look up and set a higher feed rate, using tables readily available on the Internet.
This will produce two benefits--you will cut the part a little faster and these settings will do a better job maintaining your targeted chip thickness leading to better heat management. A far more important and game changing application of this knowledge is the use of Mastercam’s Dynamic Motion technology to improve productivity and reduce tooling wear and costs.
Smaller stepovers require higher feed rates to maintain your targeted ship thickness, and can yield faster cut time.
Many manufacturers obtain impressive productivity improvement by employing Dynamic Motion strategies in combination with today’s advanced cutting tools. Radial chip thinning is easily implemented. A discussion with your tool vendor and Mastecam Reseller can help you choose appropriate tools, cutting strategies, and radial chip thinning parameters for your applications.