Artificial Femur Demonstrates Multitasking Machining

A part showcased at a recent industry event is based on a 3D scan of a real bone.

Busts, animals, logos and other sculptures make great machining demonstrations, and nothing says “medical” like a human bone.This was the thinking when Mazak machined the plastic femur in the picture gallery above, said application engineering manager William Curtis at a recent “Discover” event. However, the story he told about this part also illustrates one reason why even the most whimsical machining demo might be worth a manufacturer’s attention.

The May 14-16 technology showcase at the company’s technical center in Windsor Locks, Connecticut was not the first event to highlight the femur. Interestingly enough, he says it attracted enough interest that at one point, a prospective Mazak customer asked for the programs, considering the possibility of machining synthetic bone for real-world applications.

For Mazak, the part highlights the multitasking capabilities of the Integrex line of machine tools. Machined from 4-inch round stock via a combination of turning and full five-axis contouring, it originated with a 3D scan of a real femur, Mr. Curtis says. Given the plastic part’s length, programmers decided to machine it in two sections, which are connected by the surgical plate visible in the picture above. Roughing and finishing proceeded gradually, with ballnose cutters working section by section and leaving enough stock intact to prevent the workpiece from distorting under tool pressure.

This story, and those of other parts showcased at this regional event, made it well worth stopping by on the way to the airport from Eastec 2019, where one could find all manner of data-driven manufacturing and automation technologies as well as everyday CNC machining fare.

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