Within the eleventh video of this 25-video series on programming a Multus U3000 with TopSolid, we will explore milling a 4-axis radial slot. So many CAM software packages make an operation like this much harder than it needs to be.
Milling a 4-axis radial slot is really just milling an open pocket, so we select end milling within the list of 2D operations. After selecting end milling, I will turn on multi-axis. Because I have already taught TopSolid all of the definitions of this machine, the system knows that the machine I am programming is capable of multi-axis milling. Therefore, TopSolid made the multi-axis function available.
As you will see, as soon as I select 4-axis radial mill, a toolpath generates. However, I need to change my tool selection because the tool the system selected for me was too large. I simply select the tool I want to work with and the toolpath recalculates.
Programming Final Details
As smart as TopSolid is, the system does not automatically know where to start cutting. So, you still must be a little bit of a NC programmer and select an appropriate starting point for the operation. Finally, we need to set our precise cutting attributes.
In a matter of minutes, we have created a 4-axis tool path and as always when working in TopSolid, our machine simulation is there to verify that everything is working flawlessly.
Within the tenth video of this 25-video series on programming a Multus U3000 with TopSolid, we will verify the toolpaths we created within the previous videos.
When you are working to verify in TopSolid, there are a couple of ways to work. However in this demonstration, I simply window select all of the operations I want to verify. You will notice that TopSolid’s machine simulation is more robust than many solutions out there because it includes full machine simulation.
Within this verification simulation, you will notice that the stock comes in at the exact moment that it would based on our previously programmed operations. Once we hit start, you can see all of the operations happening in real time and we ultimately verify that there are no collisions within our programming so far and that we are good to move forward.
You have a great product idea – you can see it in your mind’s eye. In the end, your new product will be proudly displayed and will likely even go down in history as industrial design genius. Given that you are an experienced and talented practical machinist, we could hardly expect anything less. But wait, your ideas require multiple materials and a complex design.
Check out this cool video demonstrating how our team in France designed and ultimately fabricated this awesome, multi-material custom foosball table (the French call a foosball table a babyfoot…what can we say?).
As this team of Missler Software team members discovered, the complexity required is no match for TopSolid. Above all else, TopSolid’s mission is always to make manufacturing simple for both practical machinists and the entire design team.
Within the ninth video of this 25-video series on programming a Multus U3000 with TopSolid, I will program five operations on a five-axis mill-turn machine in a matter of seconds using TopSolid’s drag and drop functionality. Sound too good to be true? Stick with me and I will prove that it is not only possible, but easy.
To mill additional faces, I drag and drop the open pocket cutting toolpath I created in the previous video. I now demonstrate how easy it is to apply that toolpath to five additional faces in a matter of clicks and in just a few seconds.
Using the kinemetric definitions of the machine TopSolid already knows, when we drag and drop our toolpath, TopSolid automatically finds the correct angular solutions for the new faces and creates the new toolpaths accordingly.
Five operations completed in 50 seconds – impressive!
Now that we have most of our turning done, in the eighth video of this 25-video series on programming a Multus U3000 with TopSolid, we want to start doing some milling. We will start by milling an open pocket. As you will see, when I select the face I want to mill, TopSolid suspects that it is an open pocket and proposes it as such.
The area we are working on is, in fact, an open pocket, so I move forward by selecting an appropriate tool. In this demonstration, I want to remind you just how easy it is to work with tooling in TopSolid. I can either choose the style tool I want and build from there, or select a tooling template. Either selection makes it easy to program the needed tooling information.
Because TopSolid is a highly intelligent solution, as soon as we make our tooling characteristic settings, TopSolid proposes a toolpath. After some quick feeds, speeds and cutting settings, we are all set.
As always, after these settings made, TopSolid automatically updates the stock model. Simulation allows us to check this operation for collisions and we notice in this case that the spinning axis is the tool and we can check for collisions even when the tool is spinning.
Milling and Open Pocket – Reviewing what You’ve Learned
This open pocket milling video further highlights TopSolid’s ability to help intelligently make decisions, but also offers the easy ability to adjust those decisions. Finally, TopSolid’s goal is always to give you 100% confidence when you ultimately hit start to begin post processing. Our machine simulation function for every process gives you this confidence.
In the seventh video of this 25-video series on programming a Multus U3000 with TopSolid, we test synchronizations of the operations we have programmed. We have programmed a few operations, but the key question is – do these operations perform effectively together?
To answer this question, I switch to the final machining phase and bring up my scenario that contains all of our operations. TopSolid’s extremely powerful automatic layout command sets all the needed synchronizations dynamically.
Finally, I hit play on our simulation and we can watch all of the operations in the order they are going to happen and see that they are synchronized appropriately.
In the fifth video of this 25-video series on programming a Multus U3000 with TopSolid, I finish our groove using a lower turret.
I changed the type of finished I want to profiling, but just to be a little different, I decided to use the machine’s lower turret. After selecting the tool I believe will be best for the job, I must adjust the toolpath because the machine contains a slant bed lower. The machine’s kinemetric information I have already taught TopSolid allows me to visualize exactly what is going on and make the proper decisions.
Finally, I want to program from two directions at once and to program my two points for a highly accurate toolpath.
After a quick setting of our feeds and speeds and a final check using TopSolid’s simulation, we are all set.
In the fourth video of this 25-video series on programming a Multus U3000 with TopSolid, we continue roughing our part. Specifically, within this video you will learn how to manage groove roughing.
The Efficiency of Reusability. The Ease of Adjustments.
As is the case with nearly every function performed with TopSolid, you will notice the combination of utilizing information we have already taught the system, and being able to easily make customized tweaks for this step in the programming process. For instance, in the video you will notice that TopSolid “assumes” that we want to use the same tool and cutting angle that we were previously using.
However, we in fact need a different tool and cutting method to rough our groove, but that is easy enough to change. I simply access a groove roughing method I have already taught the system and select the appropriate tool. Again, showing off the efficiency built into the very fabric of TopSolid, we drag and drop our feeds and speeds settings and avoid having to re-input data and settings the system already knows.
TopSolid, as always, updates the stock model based on our programming changes.
The Power of “Close Call” Collision Detection
Finally, and extremely importantly, TopSolid simulations checks for collisions, including potential fixture collisions. In this case, we are extremely close to colliding with the chuck, but do not in fact collide. TopSolid allows you to have 100% confidence in your end result, even in close calls.
Groove Roughing – Reviewing What You’ve Learned
This groove roughing video particularly highlights the efficiencies TopSolid creates by reusing the information you have already taught the system, while still being able to easily make needed adjustments. Additionally, this video highlights the power of TopSolid’s simulation capabilities to detect collisions, including fixture collisions, even when it’s a very close call.
In this post, I walk step-by-step through the key processes required to program a part utilizing a four-platter KME tombstone on a Makino A61 Horizontal machine.
I’m excited to share this series of videos with you because the four-platter KME tombstone adds rotary axes, is commissioned to allow higher production machining, and also increases the capability of a standard 4-axis horizontal to one with 5-axis capabilities. This allows manufacturers to keep pace with current manufacturing demands using commissioned machinery. TopSolid 7 allows you to manage this additional complexity easily and efficiently.
This post contains seven videos:
Prepare to Machine a Part Utilizing a Four-Platter KME Tombstone on a Makino A61 Horizontal Machine
Make Toolpath with TopSolid on the KME Tombstone
Make Custom Origins in TopSolid and Organize Them
TopSolid Automatic Origin Selection on a KME Tombstone
Create Drilling Toolpath with TopSolid on a KME Tombstone
Finish the Drillings and Break Some Edges
Verify, Document and Post-Process with TopSolid on KME Tombstone
Let’s dive in and see how it works.
Prepare the Machine Part Setup
We start by accessing the kinematic definitions of our machine. By utilizing these definitions, we know everything there is to know about our machine saving tremendous amounts of time and reducing the risk of error.
After importing our part, TopSolid’s heal command allows me to check the integrity of my model. After assuring my model is valid, I simplify it based on set tolerances. This simplification process measures every face of the model to make sure that they are registered as simple forms of geometries like planes, cylinders, conics, lines, arcs and so forth. The process will also combine the faces of the model and check again for validity.
With a validated model confirmed, I begin laying out my machine parts setup document that will include all needed information about my stock model, machine document, tooling, parts and fixtures. Much of this machine, tooling and fixture information is already established in previous TopSolid projects. This saves a lot of time and capitalizes on information and knowledge generated from previous work.
As you watch the video, pay particular attention to the ease and efficiency of TopSolid’s drag-and-drop functionality.
Let’s Make Our First Toolpath
This video shows off three powerful aspects of TopSolid 7. First, our library of pre-loaded tools allows us to make quick tool selection and tool behavior adjustments. Second, utilizing TopSolid’s drag-and-drop functionality, we can easily apply our created toolpath to all appropriate faces.
Finally, this demonstration highlights a problematic error and a cool way to quickly solve the problem. At first, our toolpath did not account for the fact that we have a vice fixture holding our part in place. So, our original toolpath would have collided with the jaws of the vice – of course, not good.
Depending on your project, you can add fixture offsets manually or you can utilize TopSolid’s preparation stage functionality. The preparation stage serves as kind of a moment in history between the loading of our machine prior to our fixtures and the creation of our toolpath. Accessing this preparation stage space allows you to insert functionality that will be universal to a given tool for a given project. In this demonstration, I use these capabilities to avoid the jaws of the vice within our toolpath. With this adjustment made, we can apply to all faces of our part and TopSolid automatically recalculates the cutting paths.
Making and Organizing Custom Origins
To begin, I created some Work Coordinate Systems (WCS), or frames. I have found that the best place to do this framing work is by utilizing TopSolid’s preparation stage, which again serves as kind of a moment in history between the loading of our machine prior to our fixtures and the creation of our toolpath. TopSolid is a parametric software, so everything in history starts at the bottom and moves up in the trees. By doing this working in the preparation stage, we are in effect reverting to the modeling stage and the frames we create will be applied to the entire project moving forward.
Finally, I created all our needed origin points in order that we can associate these tool paths to the correct origins. TopSolid’s WCS and origins manager features allow you to quickly make these associations, as well as organize them effectively.
Automatic Origin Selection on a KME Tombstone
Within this video, we will complete the milling of our part. This work will go quickly because we now have everything set up. I will also highlight the extremely handy automatic origin selection feature of TopSolid 7.
TopSolid will automatically activate the WCS that makes the most sense given the frame orientation and the previous setup information we established. Of course, you can switch to another WCS if you would like, but TopSolid strives for efficiency by making some assumptions and suggestions for you.
This demonstration also highlights how TopSolid’s machining simulation highlights where alternative tools need to be used, but shows you how easy it is to apply established toolpath to the newly selected tools. TopSolid will also automatically change the lead in and lead out for a given area of the part to allow the tool to perform effectively.
Finally, this segment explores the truncated contouring feature, which can be thought of as a local feature mode.
Most importantly, TopSolid allows you to spend more time processing parts and less time working about executing highly routine operations in large part through its ability to apply changes as universally or as locally as you want, make suggestions based on inputted factors and recalculate toolpaths based on changes.
Create Drilling Toolpath with TopSolid on a KME Tombstone
While in this video we establish drillings, the true highlight of this segment is showing off TopSolid’s ability to reuse things you have already taught the system to do.
We start by using the analysis of drillings and cylinders command which gives you the ability to map predefined toolpath strategies. As you will learn, for this feature to work, you must build these predefined toolpath strategies. After these strategies are created, much time can be saved; however, in the meantime, you can simply manually program your drillings.
As we experienced when we were working on our millings, TopSolid will automatically select tools for you (which can be changed as/if needed). Additionally, you will see that I have taught TopSolid to automatically calculate print diameter. This coupled with chamfer information will allow TopSolid to find all identical drillings and apply all the same settings. This, of course, saves a great deal of time.
Finish the Drillings and Break Some Edges
As we finish our drillings, you continue to see how efficient it is to apply settings to identical drillings and are reminded of the time savings facilitated by the drag and drop functionality of TopSolid.
To complete this segment, we need to break the edges as the customer requested a 15,000th chamfer on all the part’s edges that are one inch or larger. Using the breaking edges milling feature of TopSolid, the system finds every edge meeting this criterion and therefore needing a chamfer. A potential complication arises, however, when we can see that some of our chamfering toolpaths will collide with features of the part. Amazingly, when we investigate, the created toolpaths are collision-free. As it turns out, TopSolid led on and led off based on a lateral safety distance for the selected tool. However, to achieve the edges we need, we need to make tool selection change and other minor adjustments to allow the breaking edges milling feature to facilitate our needed chamfer without collisions.
Verify, Document and Post Process
Before we complete our project and post process, we must manage a few more tasks. First, we need to review our cutting conditions to make sure that we did not make any mistakes or omissions. In fact, we’ll discover a few needed adjustments and programming changes that are therefore required. However, TopSolid’s regeneration commands allows you to either recalculate the toolpath or recalculate minor changes such as the feeds and speeds changes we made.
We then verify our part and use TopSolid’s machine simulation to observe the material removal and check for collisions within the entire process – thiws, after all, is why you invest in the robust TopSolid solution.
With our part verified, we then want to create a setup sheet to allow the setup team member to know exactly what they will be cutting and include detailed information describing every operation. In addition to all the in-depth information included within the document, we can make notes and annotations for each operation. Any design change, even a design change from another CAD system, updates all data including this setup document.
Finally, moving to post-processing we see that this toolpath should run beautifully on our Makino A61 Horizontal machine. We machined our part on a complex fixture, on a complex tombstone and it was no match for TopSolid.