Modern Machine Shop

SEP 2018

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Safe CNC Programming for Bold Machining Modern Machine Shop 93 "Also, we are really careful with how a cutting tool enters and retracts from a cut so that that tool always moves safely within the machine envelope. Everyone follows the same basic approach: no unexpected moves as a tool indexes to the next position. And we verify tool paths extensively in Mastercam, so as a result, tool collisions or spindle crashes are very rare," he reports. "A lot of times we'll actually run unattended, even on parts that we have never run before. We feel that confident in our CNC programs that we can to hit 'cycle start' and let the job go. That's been a significant bonus for us," Mr. Bowman concludes. CAD Model Prep Tools. "The ability to manipulate solids within the CAM software has been a real help. It enables us to do more on the shop f loor without involving engineers or designers. This eliminates waiting and duplication of effort, and it keeps the work moving forward," he says. A good example is that they can use the software to automatically "fill" holes in a mold design, so that tool paths to machine contours are based on a smooth, continuous surface in the model. Holes are later restored for drilling in subsequent oper- ations. Another example is their ability to extract geometries to create a model for designing and machining soft jaws or fixturing components that match the geometry. Probing. All CNC machines at Flying S have Renishaw probes, and more than a third of the programs incorporate in-process gaging and tool- breakage detection. "These are practices that add to the safety of unattended machining," Mr. Bowman says. Likewise, Master3DGage arm-type measurement systems are used in the shop and the programs for these are also written within the same programming environment. Carbon-Fiber Trimming. Mr. Bowman notes that staying within the same programming environ- ment is like eliminating setups on the machine tools. "Programmers don't have to shift their thinking from one system to another or pass jobs to other programmers who work in a specialized or dedicated programming system," he says. That's why the recent Mold Plus plug-in for Mastercam was especially welcome. It enables the shop to quickly create programs for CNC edge trimming carbon-fiber parts on a machining center instead of by hand. Trimming is necessary because these parts consist of multiple layers of carbon-fiber material that are pressed together and cured in an oven. Frays, loose fibers and excess resin Many molds for composite aircraft components are produced from aluminum billets on this Haas GR 712 gantry router operated by Spencer Hose. Confidence in the CNC programs for these mostly one-of-a-kind molds enables the shop to machine them in the unattended mode.

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