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NX CAM: Eliminate wasted cutting motions on overhanging blank material

John Pearson - Thursday, July 28, 2016

 

Regular readers of our blog may recall my last NX CAM article, where I stated that many improvements to the software are missed due to lack of upgrade training. I gave several reason for this, which I’ll not repeat. If you’re interested, you can read the article: http://www.designfusion.com/designfusion_blog/nx-cam-options-for-selecting-cut-areas.

 

Continuing on the theme from that article, I’d like to highlight another recent improvement that may have been overlooked by some users. This improvement focuses on eliminating some wasted cut motions. My old boss, back in my CNC programming days, used to always remind me that machine time was more valuable than my time. It was his way of saying that he wanted us to make our programs as efficient as possible. So I was trained to always look for cutting efficiency. Perhaps that is why this enhancement caught my eye. This was introduced in NX9, so if you haven’t upgraded to NX9 or NX10, you have to do this manually. Let’s first look at the scenario.

 

I have a part to be machined, along with my defined blank geometry, as shown below.

 


 

Let’s assume that I rough out the bottom of the part first, using cavity mill.

 


 

Next I’ll want to rough out the top. I define my cavity mill operation and set the containment to use the IPW (in process workpiece). In other words, my blank becomes what was left after the last operation.

 


 

The image below shows the blank material after the bottom rough cut.

 


 

Prior to NX9, my cutting path would look like the following image.

 


 

Notice that the tool roughed the top, but it continued to cut the bottom half which had already been roughed away. In NX9 they added an enhancement which omits cuts that remove insignificant amounts of material from overhanging IPW’s. So in NX9, under the Strategy tab, you will see a new option called Cut Below Overhanging Blank.

 


 

If this is turned on, you will get the old pre-NX9 results, as shown above. If it is turned off, your path will generate as shown below.

 


 

Notice here that no cutting motions are wasted trying to remove the IPW left behind by the previous operation on the underside of the part. This could add up to some significant machine time savings for your company.

 

I will continue to highlight some of the newer NX CAM enhancements in future blog articles. But keep in mind that this is a slow way to learn about improvements. For example, had you attended an NX9 upgrade course, you would have learned this enhancement and more, almost 2 years ago. Imagine how much machine time that could have been saved; definitely enough to pay for the course and much more.

 

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