NX CAM has a comprehensive suite of toolpaths for 2 ½ axis, 3 axis and simultaneous 5 axis milling and can be applied to wireframe, surface or solid geometry.
As the leading integrated CADCAM solution over many decades, one of the observation new users make is how easy it is to create toolpaths without the need for extra geometry construction. Operation can be created relative to the whole model, specified edges or faces and driven from automatically recognized features. While powerful CAD tools within the CAM environment are available for when geometry creation is required.
NX CAM provides roughing strategies for solid models, surface geometry or wireframe profiles. The monitoring of the in-process workpiece enables efficient ‘Rest milling’ using progressively smaller tools. While the holder and shank collision monitoring ensure error free toolpaths.
Cavity and Adaptive milling
NX CAM provides the option of traditional toolpath styles zig, zig-zag, follow part and follow periphery for which there are still many very valid uses. The latest addition – ‘Adaptive milling’ which volume based cut path provides the conditions for high feed cutting. This is a ‘must use’ toolpath for those that want to see efficiency improvements in their roughing processes. It is included as standard NX CAM milling and the algorithm has also been incorporated into the 2 ½ axis wireframe operations so that customers that use wireframe can also take advantage of the productivity gain this will give them.
Roughs a contoured shape by cutting along the tool axis in successive plunge motions. Recommended for efficient roughing out large volumes of material in deep areas that require a long tool and increased rigidity.
Flat faces, vertical walls, tapered walls or contoured profile features; NX CAM has operations and strategies to provide the solution for accurate and quality finishing. As with the roughing operations these monitor the in-process work piece to enable rest finishing using progressively smaller tools and collision monitoring of holder and shank ensure error free toolpaths.
Floor and Wall
These operations proved easy to use strategies for flat faces and vertical walls. Toolpath strategies include, follow part, zig, zig-zag and profile, while custom paths can be easily created to produce an bespoke economical solution.
Z level profiling
Milling operation that finished steep surface, with a level based profile cut pattern. This operation can be used on prismatic or contoured walls with control of cut depth to control surface finish.
3 axis milling operation that can use a ball, spherical or chamfer tool to break the edge or chamfer parts in a quick and easy to use operation where edges can be automatically detected or manually selected.
3D and free form milling
The Area mill operation can be applied to the whole part, selected faces or containment boundaries can be used to further control area selection. Alternative path strategies can be automatically applied to steep and shallow areas while additional control enables the override of the automatic steep shallow to allow the user the exact toolpath they require.
Guiding curves and steam line
The controls within these two operations provide the ability to control the flow of the toolpath to optimize surface finish. The ‘Guiding Curves’ option has 3 alternative path solutions – Morphing, Constant offset and Racetrack around guide.
This corner finishing operation is used for the finishing of corners and valleys in free form parts. Multiple passes can be used to finish the area and different path strategies can be used in steep and shallow areas. This operation can be applied to the whole part or selected faces.
NX CAM’s advanced 5 axis provide a comprehensive suite of simultaneous 5 axis operations. The combination of high speed machining, advanced 5-axis simultaneous milling strategies with gauge and collision avoidance, G code machine simulation / verification and the power of NX CAD design tools provide a 5 axis CAM solution that enables you to create the 5 axis toolpath you require and be confident that it will run error free on the machine. The 5 axis milling operations provide cutting methods for complex surfaces and demanding parts and include 5 axis adaptive rouging and multi axis finishing strategies that adopt the latest cutting strategies and tooling, enabling you to get the most from your machines and tooling.
High efficient finishing with tangent barrels and taper barrel tools
The large shank radius of these tool enables the same surface finish or cusp height for a bigger step over, resulting in a shorter cycle time. The challenge for 5 axis CAM is to calculate the relationship between the contact point of the tool and track point of the tool, a calculation that is far more complex than that for a standard ball nose end mill.
Toolpath projection vector
Point distribution is the key to creating a quality surface finish and the ability to control the project direction of these points is a major factor in ensuring this quality. In addition to the standard ‘Tool Axis’ projection vector, many of the 5 axis NX CAM cycles provide additional options to enable optimum point distribution of surface normal to proves the best surface finish possible.
Tool axis control
The orientation of the tool onto the tool path is another major factor in surface quality as well ensure tilt for tool access. NX CAM provides a range of solutions from the simple method of controlling the tool relative to the part, point or line, to the more complex control of vectors to get the perfect solution.
The same automatic tilt and lead control used to control tool avoidance in the 3 to 5 axis conversion can also be applied in addition to the tool axis control above to provide quality error free 5 axis toolpaths.
5 axis roughing
The high efficiency 3 axis adaptive roughing strategy which enables rapid volume material removal and extended tool life has also been developed as a 5 axis strategy. The same benefits are included as with the 3 axis operation – fully protected tool paths proving automatic tool shank and tool holder avoidance, rest machining and up cutting to provide efficient near net shape roughing, along with the added benefits of cut levels profile being controlled based on the topology of the top or bottom faces, which provides for a closer near net shape on complex multi axis parts.
Convert 3 axis toolpaths to 5 axis
How many times have you said – ‘If only I could tilt the tool away from the wall in that area I wouldn’t need to have the tool stuck out so far’. The automatic 3 axis to 5 axis conversion is designed to do just that. Create the 3 axis path and apply the ‘tilt tool axis’ option to easily create a collision free 5 axis tool path from a 3 axis path.
Volume removal of material around a rotary axis can require a different strategy to that adopted for 3 axis or simultaneous 5 axis roughing. The NX CAM rotary roughing provides an easy to use operation that produces a high quality toolpath. The operation can be used to rough along the part around the rotary axis, rough eccentric rotary features, rough segments of a rotary part and rough tapered or conical geometry.
Swarf machining uses the flute of the tool to cut along the wall of the part – in its simplest form, its very much like a 3 axis profile pass, but with the tilt of the tooling being controlled by the surface normal of the wall being machined. Additional options for multi depth, multi stepovers, cut across gaps, ring height control, additional tilt control, knowledge of the in process work piece and many more functions all go to provide an easy to use toolpath with all the control you require.
Variable axis guiding curve
The variable axis guiding curve path provides an operation that provides excellent surface finish, providing 3 options for tool path shape. Morph between curves, relative to a curve or race trace. It provides comprehensive control of tool lead and tilt relative to the part geometry while at the same time providing additional lead and tilt to enable automatic tool and holder avoidance.
Drive methods such as ‘surface area’, ‘curve’ and ‘Streamline’ provide a comprehensive suite of solutions for 5 axis operations. Using both part and drive faces, tool vector and projection vectors to produce an efficient quality surface finish.
Multi axis deburring
The NX CAM deburring cycle can be used in 3 axis, automatic 3+2, 4 axis rotary and simultaneous 5 axis mode, to provide quick and accurate deburring toolpaths. When chamfering complex geometry and simultaneous 5 axis geometry the chamfer width option easily controls the chamfer size regardless of the intersecting angles of faces. The operation is not limited to external edges and can be used to break the edge or chamfer complex geometry such as the intersections between holes.
Specialised operation for hollow narrow regions. The roughing and finishing tube operations, make easy work of the drive curve creation and managing of in process work piece to manage the machine from both ends of a port in a single operation.
Turbo machinery milling
This is a specialised set of operations for multi bladed rotating parts such as blisks, fans and impellers. It provides efficient 5 axis roughing and finishing strategies for machining the hub floor, blade walls, splitters and fillets. Tangent barrel tools can be used to efficiently finish the walls, while the merge operation option can also be used to control rigidity of thin walled blades to maintain surface finish.
Merge tool paths
The demands of today’s parts can mean that the geometry of a single toolpath can not always provide the optimum result, the merge toolpath operation enables the combining of multiple paths into a single operation. Optimizing the path flow and transfer moves to create the desired result.
NX CAM’s provides the functionality to deliver the latest strategies within turning and mill/turn. Manufacturing templates enable the quick and easy programming of 2 axis turned parts (both horizontal and vertical lathes), while the integration between the turning and milling and the handling of the in-process work piece provide a fully integrated solution for the most complex of mill turn machines with multiple channels and multiple spindles. The associative turning profile can be extracted from the solid part or a simple 2D wire frame sketch could be used, while the automatic and associative in-process work piece monitoring ensures optimum cycle times and efficient toolpaths throughout the process.
The NX CAM rough turning operation provides a range of turning strategies, from axial turning, profile turning, pinch turning (for multi channel operations) and full control of the tool orientation on a machine with a B axis. Toolpaths can be divided by path length or time to enable a local return for insert change or change to sister tooling. The code can be output either as long hand or in the form of a cycle.
The high efficiency turning operation for button style tools roughs the part maintaining a uniform cut load and tangential force enabling high speed cutting and prolonged tool life. Ideal for large groove areas but can also be used in open areas where standard roughing would be considered.
Sandvik Prime turning
Prime turning operations for both roughing and finishing with Sandvik CoroTurn Prime A-type and B-type tools. This cutting technology developed by Sandvik allows for extremely high feed material removal and provides the smooth engage required for these tools to work at their optimum.
The NX CAM grooving operation provides strategies for both roughing and finishing. Strategies can be applied to a face at any angle and include the options for plunge, plunge alternate and plunge castle, each of which can include peck options to break the swarf. Both the leading and trailing edge of the grooving blade can be easily controlled, stops added to clear swarf within the process and test cuts included to size in the groove.
The finishing operation provide the user the functionality to finish the part in the strategy they require. Grinding allowance, alternative stock allowance and different feed rates can be applied to different elements of the profile. The operation also includes the option for integrated test cuts and in-cut retract points to change inserts or clear swarf. For machines with the capability for simultaneous B axis turning, this is also available and outputs the code as G02, G02 or G03 as defines by the profile geometry.
Mill turn is available to all NX CAM users that have both a milling and a turning license. Both operation types can be used within the same program in any order and the in-process workpiece that defines the current state of the stock is always fully up to date. Axial (XY, XC and polar), radial and alternative B axis angles can all be used to easily apply driven milling or drilling tools. For machines that have a sub spindle, the transfer of the in-process work piece is automatic to manage the stock state throughout the process. NX CAM allows the work piece to be passed between the spindles or repositioned within the same chuck as the process demands.
For machines with multi channels (for example an upper and lower turret) synchronization is used to control when the axis for each of the channels is to move in relation to the other. The example here is 2 channels, but there is no limit to the number of channels that can be synchronized within the process.
For more information on turning and mill turn watch the webinar.
Siemens NX CAM hole making operations provide drilling, boring, thread milling, helical mole milling, deep hole drilling, radial groove milling and hole chamfering operations that fully manage the in-process work piece and ensure safe toolpaths with automatic collision avoidance.
Holes can be selected direct from either model or wire frame geometry and knowledge-based machining can be used to automatically identify and group them. The path for multiple holes can be rationalized to produce shortest path and multiple operation can also be rationalized in the same way to further rationalize the and optimize cycle time.
Standard hole cycles
Spot drilling, drilling, boring, reaming, taping operations can all be created, in either long hand or cycles. All operations have automatic checking to ensure error free cut path and secure path between holes. Drilling can have peck or break chip options which tapping can also have.
Deep hole drilling / gun drilling
The deep hole or gun drilling operation provides all the control the user required to control the entry and exit of the tool and control at hole intersections. Alternative speed, spindle direction, feed, coolant and dwells are all options that can be controlled at each stage of the process.
Hole and boss milling
The integrated helical spiral hole option allows the used to rapidly mill holes or bosses.
This operation uses a spiral and / or helical cut pattern to economically machine both holes and bosses, using the in-process work piece to determine material removal.
The thread milling operation provides an easy to use operation for the thread milling of both internal and external threads. The thread data can be derived from the model, the tool or manually entered.
Radial groove machining
Radial grooves can easily and safely programmed. In-process work piece ensure an efficient and safe path while, multi passes, cut sequence options give the user the control required to cut the part as required.
The use of on-machine probing for part set up and feature measurement is now common place in machine shops and OnePLM have as great depth of experience in using probing to improve quality and productivity with senior member of the business having spent may years in this industry.
Our previous connection with this industry has lead us to create a suit of on machine probing operations that are easy to use and provide all the relevant functionality that is required for part setup and feature checking.
Each of the operations can activate a probing routine such as Renishaw or Siemens to automatically update work or tool offsets and can also incorporate more complex probe application where variable are stored away and logic including calculations, IF, WHILE and GOTO can also be embedded into the operation. The movements within each of the operations can be graphically verified as well as being simulated with ISV.
Watch the webinar at …..
Add an image of G code with variables saved and marco B logi
Single point probing can be used in the X, Y or Z direction, the Probe corner can be used for both internal and external corners and has the option for either defining one or two probe points on either face.
Probe Web / Pocket operation is used for measurement or feature position. Obstructed pockets – pockets with upstand features can also be probed with commands to avoid the obstruction.
Probe bore / boss this operation can be used for measurement or feature position. There are two different options available, the simple 4 point measure ( 90 degrees apart) or a 3 point measure where the angle between points can be defined.
Probe level this operation is used to level up the part by realigning a rotary axis.
Quality NC code delivered to the shop floor
Confidence in the quality of the NC program before it reaches the shopfloor is foremost in the mind of every programmer and thankfully the days of manual edits to the NC code and the operator with their finger hovering over the stop button during prove out are a thing of the past.
To provide this level of confidence, NX CAM provides checking at every stage of the process to ensure the toolpaths are quality and error free.
Within the toolpath
The operations have gouge and avoidance built into them, checking the cutter, shank and holder against the part and in process work piece.
Verification visually checks the process for collisions and provides tools to analyze remaining material / in-process workpiece against the finished part.
A background validity check and report can be run to check for issue and confirm compliance before post processing.
Quality post processor code
Although not truly a check, the quality of the post processor and the control this allows over the output has major impact on the quality of the code that runs on the machine. The Post Configurator and Post Builder tools supplied with NX CAM to create post processors prove the control required to drive the most complex of machines with confidence.
ISV – Integrates Simulation and verification
The final check is the virtual G code prove out. The NC code to be run on the machine is simulated to check for collision and over travel limits of axis. The NX CAM’s Integrated Simulation and Verification (ISV) works directly within the NX CAM environment making it seamless and easy to virtually prove out the G code during the programming process. The operations are automatically post processed and the tools, fixture, part and billet set up in the machine environment to fully test the process. It can run sub programs and macros to emulate the process on the machine and as this runs the G code in the same way as the machine on the shop floor, it can ‘standalone’ to run programs that have not been created with NX CAM.
Robots have been around for many years for assembly functions and are increasingly being used within a machining context. Their relatively large working envelope and competitive price make them worth consideration for applications where low cutting force and accuracy is not of primary required. As part of the NX CAM suite, toolpaths are created using the regular high-quality operations and the robot control added to these to define the robot arm configuration. Additional auxiliary devices such as rotary tables, linear slides or multiple robots synchronized to work together on a single part can all be included within the single NC CAM part file
For many years additive manufacture had been viewed as a technology for use in rapid prototyping or very niche products but the technology is now crossing the gap from those early adopter niche areas to mainstream production. The process ‘Additive manufacturing’ can be separated into two very different processes, ‘3D printing’ and ‘Material deposition’, both of which Siemens NX are at the forefront of developing.
There are several different methods within the powder bed fusion technology, the best choice depending upon factors such as material, but the underlying concept of the process is the building up of a part shape in planar layers. Within the NX, the additive module provides the tools required to set up the part geometry for its creation. Providing tools to orientate the part, create support tags and create 3D nesting for a higher volume productionisation of the process. The short video below shows the work flow in creating a part and the tools available within NX.
This processes in simple terms can be viewed as the opposite of conventional machining techniques, in that the build up of the part is from a series of toolpaths laid down to form the part, the NX material deposition cycles are a set of operations within the NX CAM solution. These additive toolpaths have been developed for ‘volume creation’ analogous a roughing operation in subtractive terms and profiling paths, each of these path types have been developed for planar, rotary, and multi axis features. As part of the NX CAM solution it can be used as a standalone additive process for a dedicated additive machine or robot and used in a hybrid process where both additive and subtractive processes are used in combination through the build process to create a final finished part.