Better Way to Verify 5-Axis Machining— PowerMill add-on
“Had we ordered the stock 25mm longer, we would have been in a position where the tool holder we decided on wouldn’t have got over the top of the part.”— Chris Northall, Delcam
Delcam’s PowerMill is a favorite when it comes to 5 axis CAM software, and after taking a look at Delcam’s Advanced add-on simulation software, I think this is the answer to CNC programmer and shop owner’s sleepless nights.
See, a CNC programmer has no fear making a few axis moves. However, it can become scary when you are responsible for assuring the 5-Axis are moving together, and it does not create a collision between machine, fixture/work-holding, material, tool holder, and tool.
Most impressive might be the Dynamic machine control. You can drag and move the spindle away from collision area, and create better tool approach within the simulation. Because the simulation tool is driven together with Post processor, your code will update automatically.
The satisfaction of this simulation add-on might start with the creation of a quick crash report. You are wrong if you think people can pay attention to a simulation run-through that lasts longer than a few minutes. Not only is it time-consuming, but you can also easily miss that critical collision. Let software do some work for you. Now you can, within seconds, zoom in on details that need your attention. No more time wasted sitting with your nose to the screen through endless toolpath verification.
You can include the entire machine in your verification landscape. Travel limits are a pain when doing complex 5 axis machining— you have enough on your plate concentrating on the part itself. If surpassing the limits, the software will let you move the part on the table and, with a press of a button, update toolpath and code.
How about “Near Collision”? Yes, a collision is the ultimate price to pay, but if you are programming 5 axis you should have a safety factor in there. Anyone who has ever programmed a multi-axis machine will tell you that something like 10mm clearance is a good thing. So here the software will notify you about tight work spaces. The concern is not only when the cutter is engaged with the material but also if you clear your stock when changing tools.
You don’t want surprises when running a 5 axis machine. It does happen; you get some funky axis moves, for example, when machining from positive to negative draft using a swarf cut. One could rely on years of experience, but for most, realization happens at the machine. Delcam has solved this by including an analysis graph that will show Axis rapids, giving you the option to assure that all axis are working incremental along each other.
Rumor has it that the Delcam people have been struggling to get the right name for their powerful simulation add-on. “VeriCL” does sound more marketable than “Advanced Simulation and Verification Software” but who cares about the name? The fact is that this tool will let you catch mistakes before you hit that green cycle start button on your machine.