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Optimized Roughing for High-Speed Toolpath Generation

March 8, 2012
Mastercam X6 Mill brings efficiency and automation
Mastercam Blade Expert’s interface presents an easy-to-understand method for programming complex operations.

CNC Software Inc. is emphasizing the expanded range machining flexibility that is made possible by its new Mastercam X6 Mill release, along with more program speed and greater automation. In-process stock models, new toolpaths, Dynamic Toolpath improvements, and particularly the new “Blade Expert” add-on, are among the new capabilities in this release that the developer indicated will improve shop floor productivity.

Mastercam is CNC Software’s Windows-based CAD/CAM program for 2- through 5-axis routing, milling and turning, 2- and 4-axis wire EDM, 2D and 3D design, surface and solid modeling, artistic relief cutting, and Swiss machining. The Mastercam X6 Mill release includes a new stock model that makes it possible to view and verify work as it progresses, perform stock model comparisons, and choose existing stock for rest machining.

The program’s new, 3D high-speed toolpath performs rest milling operations to remove remaining material with an optimized roughing motion. This new toolpath can use the new stock model functionality for defining stock removal areas, CNC Software noted.

3D high-speed hybrid toolpaths now maintain all of the Z level cuts in the steep areas of parts, while filling in shallow areas with scallop motions within a single Z section. These toolpaths combine the best of both worlds, the developer stated, with waterline (constant Z) motion and scallop where needed. “Now you can have both waterline and scallop motion at the same Z section, section after section. The result is a much better finish and more efficient use of the tool,” CNC Software explained.

Blade Expert — Mastercam’s Blade Expert add-on function is intended to simplify the process of creating toolpaths for any multi-bladed part, including fans, propellers, impellers, turbines, marine screws, and so forth. The developer claimed “there is no limit to the number of blades, splitters, or sub-splitters that can be programmed,” and Blade Expert includes a several “powerful and flexible” programming strategies for multiaxis roughing. Automatic tool axis control ensures smooth machine motion.

Blade Expert is described as an easy-to-use application, designed to generate efficient, smooth, toolpaths for complex bladed parts, with minimized unnecessary motions that result in greater efficiency and better finished quality. It’s capable of removing material from between the blades, finishing blades/splitters, and finishing floors and fillets.

Other new functions offered in Mastercam X6 Mill include 2D HST region chaining and dynamic toolpath improvements. It’s programmed for 64-bit support, and Mastercam noted its OptiRough strategy now features the OptiCore and OptiArea to streamline toolpath generation for those functions.

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