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Delcam FeatureCAM turning and turn-mill options on show at EASTEC

Turn-mill operations in FeatureCAM can be made more efficient by using a new method for calculating the offset limits

The latest developments for the programming of turning and turn-mill equipment in Delcam’s FeatureCAM feature-based CAM software will be demonstrated on booth #5326 at the EASTEC 2013 exhibition to be held from May 14th to 16th in West Springfield, Massachusetts. 

FeatureCAM was the world’s first feature-based programming software when it was launched in 1995.  Constant development since then has ensured that the system has retained its leadership in programming speed and ease of use, while an increased range of strategies has been added to provide more efficient toolpaths giving greater productivity on a wider range of machines.

The latest improvements for turning include smoother lead-in and lead-out moves that reduce any witness marks when finishing larger turned parts in a number of sections, and the ability to specify the optimum retract angle for turn-grooving operations and so leave a better surface finish on the part.

Definition of the initial stock and part alignment has been improved, making it more similar to the set-up process for milling, support has been added for semi-finish canned cycles and curves of revolution can now be recognised from STL models.  A new method has also been introduced allowing b-axis rotary milling to be carried out on features that would otherwise require the use of excessively long cutters.

Turn-mill operations have been made more efficient by offering an alternative method for calculating the index limits.  This calculates the limits based on the size of a solid revolve of the part, rather than creating a cylinder around the corner limits of a rectangular bounding box around the part stock.  The new method can give an index distance closer to the part shape and so produce more efficient toolpaths.

The options for multi-spindle, multi-turret machines have been improved by fully integrating part transfers into the FeatureCAM output.  Simulation and post-processing of these operations is also supported.  In addition, the handling of synchronisation points has been enhanced to simplify the optimisation of the machining sequence between the various elements of the machine.

The latest versions of FeatureCAM also give the ability to incorporate probing sequences into CAM programs.  This makes it easier to undertake unsupervised production operations by allowing automated checks to be carried out before, during and after machining.

The new probing options can be used in a variety of ways.  Before machining, sequences can be created to check that the expected part and fixture have been loaded, and that they have been placed in the correct orientation.

Probing routines can be introduced at any stage during manufacturing.  For example, critical features can be inspected immediately after they have been created to check whether too much or too little material has been removed.  If the parts are found to be outside tolerance, they can be scrapped immediately, rather than carrying on with machining and waiting for the results of an inspection at the end of the complete process.  Equally, an additional operation can be introduced if further material needs to be removed from the part.

Finally, FeatureCAM now incorporates a new method for generating html set-up sheets.  Information can be extracted from the FeatureCAM project to provide a detailed list of the tooling to be used, with an illustration of each tool, together with the dimensions of the initial stock and an image of the finished part.

09 April 2013

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