Visit Delcam on stand 4011 at MACH to increase productivity and control over toolpaths

Delcam will be showing the benefits of the latest release of its FeatureCAM automated CAM software on their stand at MACH, including: more options for the Vortex high-efficiency roughing strategy, support for bar-fed mills, more efficient turning, increased 5-axis functionality and user interface improvements to make programming easier and faster.

First, the Vortex high-efficiency roughing strategy in FeatureCAM now allows the non-cutting moves of 2.5D and 3D Vortex toolpaths to be fine-tuned, with options to retract the tool and/or to increase the feed rate. Other roughing improvements include the ability to dynamically take into account the current stock state during holder collision checking, ensuring that Z-level roughing toolpaths are completely free of toolholder collisions.

Support has been added for bar-fed milling machines, with cut-off operations that support the use of milling tools.

The use of turning tools has been simplified with the ability to use a single tool in multiple orientations. This new automatic tool orientation categorises tooling into either outside-diameter or inside-diameter turning tools, reducing the number of different tools that need to be created, to speed up programming time.

Five-axis machining has been made more flexible with a new option to control the upper and lower Z limits of a simultaneous 5-axis swarf toolpath. This is useful if there are tool length limitations or if the stepdown needs to be varied for different segments of the toolpath.

Features aligned to the Z axis can be machined by using the C axis, rather than by moving in X and Y. This option, which is commonly known as polar milling or polar indexing, can be used in situations where the machine cannot travel beyond a certain linear point. Instead, the C axis can be used to rotate the part within the machining envelope, helping to reduce machining time and improve surface finish.

The milling of inside or outside groove features now includes support for different stepover types, a wind-fan finish, plunge/retract handling, better gouge checking, and support for tool radius and partline cutter compensation.

Curve sorting has been added to 2.5D pocket features to give shorter cycle times. This gives automatic control of the order in which multiple curves are machined within a single feature.

Support has been introduced for the W-axis on machine tools such as horizontal boring machines. This addition can be used to control and simulate moveable live spindles, which can extend the travel limits of the Z axis to help avoid collisions.

Interface improvements include the ability to create additional set-ups quickly during feature recognition, via a new button in the Feature Wizard. This enhances the workflow to reduce programming time.

FeatureCAM now allows the quick import and alignment of pre-defined vices and chucks into a project. Toolpaths can then be automatically trimmed to avoid these fixtures and a more realistic representation during simulation can be achieved.

An improvement to automatic tool selection includes a check of the diameter of the tool shank. If the shank diameter is found to be larger than the diameter of the cutting portion of the tool, FeatureCAM will choose a tool of the appropriate length to avoid collisions of the shank with the part.

When used in combination with PowerSHAPE, FeatureCAM now allows machining files to be selected and nested automatically in a single block to optimise stock material usage.

Machine design files now appear on a document level, making it easier to check visually which file is loaded. This also makes it quicker to edit the set-up location of the component and to change the machine-design file for the post-processor that is currently loaded.

In another enhancement, FeatureCAM allows a post-processor document to be generated. This document helps users to understand the capabilities of the post-processor that is loaded.

Finally, Autodesk RealDWG has now been integrated into FeatureCAM, bringing with it increases in the speed of import of DWG files and support for import of DWG solid models.