CAM for Moldmaking Simplifies Rib Programming

Delcam’s PowerMill programming software for five-axis and high-speed machining offers new developments for moldmaking, including improvements to the Vortex high-efficiency area-clearance strategy, enhanced collision checking, toolpath simulation and verification, and a new module for machining ribs into tooling.

Delcam’s PowerMill programming software for five-axis and high-speed machining offers new developments for moldmaking, including improvements to the Vortex high-efficiency area-clearance strategy, enhanced collision checking, toolpath simulation and verification, and a new module for machining ribs into tooling.

The Vortex area-clearance strategy is said to produce safe tool paths with deeper cuts by using a controlled engagement angle that maintains the optimum cutting conditions for the whole cut. The strategy is said to enable higher feed and material-removal rates, shortening cutting time by as much as 70 percent. According to the developer, cutting is undertaken at a more consistent volume-removal rate and at a near constant feed rate, extending tool life and protecting the machine. 

A recent enhancement in the software enables tool paths to approach the part from outside the stock at the cutting height for both open pockets and areas where earlier cuts have made this possible. Previously, all entry moves had to be made by plunging onto the surface or by ramping into the material. Additionally, an increased feed rate can be set for non-cutting moves, enabling time savings ranging to 20 percent. Collision checking has been updated so that warnings can also be flagged for near-misses based on a user-specified value, and complete projects can now be verified rather than only individual tool paths.

A new rib-machining module eases programming of cavities for narrow ribs, even when the cutter’s length is greater than its diameter. The user sketches a line along the length of the rib, and the software automatically identifies all the surfaces needed to form the rib and calculates the machining sequence. According to Delcam, the dedicated rib-machining strategy provides a better surface finish than a standard finishing options and improves efficiency by reducing air moves.

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