In the early days of CAM software, even though computers were involved, CAM programming was still being done very manually. Individual surfaces were selected for flow line machining, boundaries are made by hand, check and limiting surfaces were selected or created and a lot of other work was involved before you could actually let the computer calculate the cutterpath.
Once CAM software packages were capable of milling multiple surfaces at one time, without user interaction for trimming, checking, limiting, etc, it was often called automatic programming. Certainly, it automatically cut multiple surfaces without much interaction from the users, and a function we take for granted today, changed how parts ere programmed, and how quickly parts could be programmed.
Next, early CAM systems automated much of the manual work required prior to allowing the computer to perform the actual CNC calculations. WorkNC was the first commercial program to automatically remachine inside corners where residual material remained from larger cutters. Automation in Roughing allowed for utilizing stock models to automatically re-rough areas where stock still remains.
Some Current Automation
Automation in the CAM industry has not stopped. Currently, modules like Auto-5 can automatically convert a 3-axis cutterpath to a 5-axis cutterpath, allowing you to mill deeper with a shorter tool. Automatic Hole Drilling can provide CNC code for literally hundreds of holes, at different inclinations, in a matter of a few seconds. Other feature recognition functions, such as keyways machining, allow for milling specific portions of your part.
Once one has developed powerful, full featured cutetrpaths, further automation can be considered for niche or special applications. Some of these might include:
Special Die Functions
Version 22 of WorkNC includes new functions specifically for the stamping die industry. Die Roughing and Die Finishing have been designed such that die programmers can program those unique areas of their dies in the shortest amount of time, as automatically as possible. Often allowing use of the side as well as the floor of the milling tool. Die Wall Plunging allows for plunge milling when desired.
Special Mold Functions
Niche or specialized mold milling functions may include a routine for milling ribs, where you can mill the ribs, when applicable, and not EDM burn the material. If an EDM electrode is still necessary, especially due to depth, then a thin wall machining algorithm can mill it safely. Utilizing a rough and finish in layer approach, this can allow you to mill the entire electrode without undue vibration or chipping.
Visit us CMTS (Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show) September 30 to October 3 to see the latest in automatic CAM functions
Sescoi/WorkNC will be in booth 2525
Click Here to register for CMTS and use Promo Code 10003228 when registering.