NCG CAM - Simultaneous 5-Axis Add-on Module

NCG CAM simultaneous 5-axis module is an add-on to the base module of NCG CAM. It does not run as a standalone product.

Simultaneous 5-axis allows the use of shorter, more rigid cutters for higher feed-rates and optimised machining time. All toolpaths have automatic collision prevention for both cutter and toolholder.

The 5-axis is aimed at finishing operations, supporting cutter types - ball-nose, flat bottomed, bull-nosed, taper cutters. Due to the complexity of many 5-axis toolpaths, the passes and linking are performed as a single operation. The 5-axis also needs to see the surfaces and any curves as NURB's.

Advanced 5-axis Toolpaths for Mould & Die Machining

Tool axis control allows the user to have some control of how the tool tilts:

  • Tilt through or away from a point

  • Tilt through or away from a curve

  • Full gouge avoidance of cutter and holder

  • Minimise side tilt to avoid collision

  • Lead/lag and tilt angles available

  • Minimal tilt to avoid holder collisions

  • 3, 4, or 5-axis options.

When selecting 4-axis, the user has to say which axis the 4 th axis rotates about. The options available may change depending or the type of 5-axis toolpath. In the linking the user can control the entry / exit moves and the transition.

Surfaces are separated into drive surfaces and check surfaces. The drive surface is the surface that is machined, the check surfaces are used to limit the machining area. It is possible to use check curves over check surfaces. It is not uncommon to have 2 sets of check surface/curves.

Swarf Machining

In NCG CAM using swarf machining allows the side of the cutter to be used, keeping it orthogonal with the surface; a lead/lag angle can still be applied if needed. With swarf machining it is also possible to offset the passes along the tool-axis.

Morph Surface Machining

Morph surface machining machines the drive surface, with options for zigzag, one-way and spiral - additional options for climb or conventional milling are also available. Though the shape of the part is a major factor, the spiral option can result with the toolpath staying on the part all the time, whereas another style of toolpath would have to retract from the surfaces more often. When morphing between two surfaces/curves the step-over can change depending on the shape of the part.

Parallel Cut Surface Machining

Parallel cut surface machining machines a drive surface in parallel cuts, at an angle to a specific axis, X,Y and Z . Machining options allow for the cutter to be kept normal to the surface and zigzag, one-way and spiral options for the cutting direction.

Automatic 3 to 5-axis Conversion

NCG CAM has the ability to automatically convert some types of 3-axis toolpaths to a 5-axis toolpath, which can save valuable machining time, tooling costs and tool life.

In most cases the 3 to 5-axis conversion of existing NCG CAM toolpath is for minimal side tilt only to avoid holder collisions, but other options include:

  • 4 or 5-axis control

  • Tilt away or through a point

  • Tilt away or through a curve

  • Lead / lag angles and side tilt

  • Fixed tilt angle

Machine Tool Simulation

The machine tool simulation allows the user to simulate the machine movement. This is generally very important for 5-axis toolpaths, where it is often difficult to visualise the real position of the machine when animating the toolpath. By running the toolpath through the machine simulation, you can be sure there will be no collision between the machine head and the bed/table of the machine.

Like the toolpath animator the user can control the simulation speed, zoom in/out. Should there be a collision, it will be highlighted graphically and a dialogue is displayed to inform the user. The machine tool simulation is also able to simulate the stock being removed pass by pass.

5-Axis Roughing

A new 5-Axis Roughing operation has been added to rough out pockets and multi-surface geometries. The inputs are contained in three folders, one each for the floor, the walls and finally the ceiling surfaces.

Optionally, boundary curves can be used to localise the generation of the roughing toolpath.

The Offset-Based strategy will allow for offsetting from the ceiling, the floor, or to morph from one to the other.

An Adaptive strategy will follow in a later point release.