Creating good side milling tool paths can be a challenge…well… for some cam software’s. But not for TopSolid! In fact some of the really challenging parts of creating a good side milling operation are related to defining the correct area to machine.
In this sample, we are going to work on a solid model. Programming on a solid model can bring its own challenges as well. But again, in TopSolid, you will learn that most of the challenges of other systems just disappear into the ether of cam solutions past.
Alt Selection Side Milling
For the first sample, you will be introduced to using ALT Selection to select single faces to side mill. This can be a great strategy for machining simple faces like an outside vertical corner radius or chamfer. Just use the ALT key and left mouse select the face to machine. This action tells TopSolid to only machine that face.
Truncated Contouring Side Milling
In the next sample, you will learn how to use Truncated Contouring. This mode of contouring allows you to focus on one local feature at a time. By default, when you use Side Milling in TopSolid, TopSolid tries to side mill everything it can. This is done based on all features that have the same final Z altitude that the face selected to machine has. With Truncated Contouring you have a quick method to tell TopSolid to only machine the local feature based on the face selected. It’s a very fast and efficient tool that helps you get to the finish line quickly.
Dynamic Profile Trimming in Side Milling
The next need-to-know method will be how to use Dynamic Profile Trimming. With Dynamic Profile Trimming you have the ability to trim the TopSolid Proposed tool path to better meet your manufacturing need. In many cases, when doing solid based programming, Cam software’s can often give you more than you need. So you are left to go back and draw your own profile. But with this mode you can manipulate the machined profile quickly and easily…thus saving yourself a lot of unnecessary steps.
Use Side Milling on a Sketch
The final example will show you how to create a sketch or profile to use with side milling. When using a sketch with side milling, you have a lot of control. You can:
- Purely follow the profile (no gouge check against solid)
- Follow the profile only where there is stock (with gouge check)
- Follow the profile, but ignore stock to machine (with gouge check)
- Follow the profile, but check against the solid model
The following video will walk you through samples of everything discussed above.
Now, this article only shows you some of the common side milling features of TopSolid. What’s more, this is only a 2D sample. Just imagine the possibilities of what TopSolid has to offer for complex tool paths.