5-sided vs. Simultaneous 5-axis There are pros and cons to both 5-sided machining and 5-axis machining. 5-sided (3+2) Simultaneous 5-axis (full 5-axis) Simple to program Cuts faster Fewer concerns about tool interference Excellent roughing strategy Better surface finish Longer tool life Allows tool to reach difficult places smoothly Impressive but slow – avoid if possible Basics of axis configuration http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAjuZnNKEnM To understand machine configurations, it’s important to understand the basic terminology of 5-axis machining centers. If you think in terms of a 3-axis machining center, it has an X-axis, Y-axis, and Z-axis. With a 5-axis machining center, the additional rotary axes will rotate about two of those three primary axes. The axis that rotates about the X-axis is called the A-axis. The axis that rotates about the Y-axis is called the B-axis. The axis that rotates about or under the Z-axis is called the C-axis.
Dedicated 5-axis machining centers There are three types of machine configurations for 5-axis machining. Integrated trunnion table Swivel head with rotary table Traveling column Why / a swivel head with rotary table 5-axis machining center BC rotation axes configuration Heavier Parts: Because the table is stationary, the swivel head/rotary table machines are used with heavier parts. Versatility. You can add a vise for greater versatility because of the large table size. Use the extra space to finish the sixth side of the part or do 3-axis work. Minimizes tool interference Because the swivel head tilts the tool, you don’t need to worry about tool interference with the machine’s spindle head. Better chip control With the swivel head/rotary table configuration, you can run the machine horizontally and gain better chip control. Geographical preference The swivel head/tilting rotary table configuration continues to be more popular Germany and throughout Europe than the United States and Canada. Why / integrated trunnion table 5-axis machining center AC rotation axes configuration Better undercut capability The trunnion rotates +/-110 degrees versus the +/-92 degree rotation on a swivel head/rotary table design. Larger work volume compared to swivel head rotary table 5-axis machine because you don’t have to…
Tilt Rotary Tables
Tilt-Rotary Tables For some shops, adding a tilting rotary table to their 3-axis machining center is an economical solution to achieve 5-axis capabilities. There are some limitations to consider. Because the tilting-rotary tables are quite large, they monopolize most of the 3-axis machining center’s work envelope. The relatively small work surface means it should only be used for small parts (12 inches or less) and should not be used for heavy cutting operations. Additionally, you need to make sure the control of your 3-axis VMC is 5-axis capable.
5-sided programming. Do you need a CAM system? For 5-sided machining, there are controls that allow machinists to program a 5-sided part without the need to buy a CAM system. This is an important consideration when a shop is considers purchasing a 5-axis machining center to do 5-sided machining. Hurco is one of a handful of controls that lets you program a part for 5-sided machining without a CAM system. As the inventors of conversational, Hurco continually leads the industry in creating a user-friendly programming method that is intuitive and decreases setup time. Read about the history of conversational programming. While you research other 5-axis machines, the following description of control software features will provide a baseline approach so you can compare capabilities from one control to the next. SUMMARY / Benefits of conversational programming for 5-sided machining No CAM system needed if you purchase a machine with the right control. Program the part at the control. Software that makes 5-sided programming fast and efficient Tool Center Point Management eliminates the need to account for the machining center’s centerlines of rotation. Instead, you simply program from part zero. Tool Center Point Management allows you to position the part anywhere on…
Control software features for simultaneous 5-axis programming For simultaneous 5-axis programming, you can’t use conversational programming. You will need to use NC and purchase a CAM system. However, the features of your machine’s control are important to consider. Tool Path Linearization eliminates gouging of the workpiece and the line segments in the form of XYZBC or AC moves that a CAM system uses to create a smooth part. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oE8KpB8i1FA Benefits Improved surface finish, smaller NC programs How it works The tool tip and tool vector are interpolated between tool positions with respect to the workpiece, even with the tool and part rotating inside the machine. The tool tip basically attaches itself to the workpiece instead of blindly following the rotations commanded. Tool Vector Input allows the control to compute machine angles and positions, and calculates the angle the tool is going to tilt from the contact point of the surface. Tool Vector Input makes part program is machine independent, which means you can use the same part program on machines with different axis configurations. (link to Basics of Machine Axis configuration) Benefits Scheduling flexibility (the program can run on another 5-axis machine with a different axis configuration) Simplifies post processor The control…
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