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!
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
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
The 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
The 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.