Category Archives: 5D Mill

Stop Struggling with 5D Milling

Machining parts requiring 5D milling can be difficult, but it does not have to be. TopSolid is up to handling even these complex tasks.  We assembled a collection of videos featuring just some of TopSolid’s capabilities for tackling complex 5D milling projects. The videos include:

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Can TopSolid Automatically Rough a Part from 5 Sides?

Yes, TopSolid can automatically rough a part from five sides! But, the full answer is quite a bit more interesting than a simple yes.

Can TopSolid automatically perform this complicated task out-of-the-box? No, it does not know how to do that. But, TopSolid contains a powerful feature called methods automation. Using methods automation, the answer is yes. And what is even better is that methods automation is easy to use and can be based on your own machining experience.

Use Methods Automation to rough a complex part
Using Methods Automation

In the example featured in the demonstration video, the method asks the user to pick faces to define the work control system (WCS).

Ultimately, the user adds the method to TopSolidCAM with a simple drag and drop. Per the established method, TopSolid pops up questions asking the user for required information. After providing the information TopSolid requests of the user, the technology does all the work from there – it creates the WCS’, applies the tool paths, updates the stock and so forth.

This is a great example of how TopSolid captures and makes your manufacturing knowledge reusable so that efficiencies and high-quality machining can be applied across your organization.

Watch the video demonstration to learn more.

Interested in more TopSolid know-how? Check out our other 5D milling videos.

Not yet a TopSolid user and interested in learning more? Sign up for a 30-day trial.

Safely run your 5 axis mill with confidence


During the annual TopSolid End User Conference in April, 2017 we were able to partner with Heidenhain USA and ISCAR to create a sample 5 axis machining project. A special thanks to Heidenhain for the use of their facility and Hermle 5 axis mill. As well a special thanks to ISCAR for providing the tooling.  Combined with TopSolid we had a great event where we got to educate around 30 people on 5 axis milling. During the event, we ran the part you are about to watch.  We also spoke in depth about the Heidenhain CNC controller as well.  From there we explored all of the possibilities of 5 axis milling together and learned about the various styles of 5 axis mills.  All in all a very successful event!


Stop Struggling with angular solutions in 5 axis milling

Stop fighting and program more parts

5 axis pre-position milling is challenging enough without having to fight with your cam software.  Why?  Sometimes it can be very challenging to set the proper angular solutions or WCS (Work Coordinate System) needed to cut your part.  Even more, it can be hard to ensure that you are always working in an intelligent way so that your operator can always see what’s going on in your machine.

In the case of WCS creation, TopSolid is at the “top” of the food chain.  This is because TopSolid can set the WCS based on the actual kinematics of your specific machine.  What’s more, TopSolid allows you to capture your preferred way of working with WCS solutions as well.  This is perfect for those of you who want ultimate control.  In the following video, I show you 3 diverse ways to manipulate WCS creation within TopSolid.

Choosing the angular solutions that work best for you

Manage all angular solutions with TopSolid Automatically

The first way is to simply choose the angular solution that you want to use.  When you select a face to machine in TopSolid, it automatically determines the WCS for you. However, based on your machine kinematic, it will choose by default, the first angular solution it finds.  What’s cool though, is that TopSolid creates a WCS for all angular solutions possible at the same time. So, in this case, you can always simply choose the solution you want from the WCS list.  This methodology is great for programmers that want to control everything on-the-fly as they program parts.

Learning to control how angular solutions are created makes for faster programming

Set the limits of your angular solutions with TopSolidThe next way to control WCS creation would be to manipulate the usable stroke limits of the machine definition within the cam document.  TopSolid will allow you to do this whenever you like, but please understand that this change will affect all operations within the document.  To modify the stroke limits of a given axis, you need to go to the Entities manager | Machine | Axis and then right-mouse-click on the axis you want to modify. Next choose Edit Strokes from the bottom of the contextual menu.  From here, activate the override and set the angular stroke limits that you want to use.  Just remember, that the stroke limits you are setting must fall within the actual stroke limits of the machine.  Once this is set, all operations within this cam file will now follow these angular solution guidelines.

Teach TopSolid your preferred working angular solutions to go even faster

Set the angular solutions preferred working range with TopSolidThe final option that I show you in this video will show you how to set your preferred working range for angular solutions.  Before I describe this, please understand that this is done within the Machine definition document.  And as such, should only by modified by someone with experience making machine definitions in TopSolid.  Typically, this is done by your local re-seller.  Also, this option is only available in TopSolid 2017.  The way it works is that we can now set the preferred working range for both minimum and maximum values for any given axis.  With this information, TopSolid will dynamically always choose an angular solution within that working range first.  But it will also give you all other angular solutions still so that you always have fast and easy control of your program.

Whichever methodology you choose to use, just remember it’s TopSolid’s job to make your manufacturing project as simple as possible while still giving you the freedom to work how you are most comfortable working.