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Software for 5 axis milling machine


#1

Hi

We have a 5 axis milling machine and we are in need of the software
which can help us to make good arty models. Please any one using any
software can share there views.

Regards
Ravi Chandavarkar


#2

Ravi, I only know some from my own researches. Hopefully others with
more tangible experience will have more to say. You need to
distinguish between drawing and CAM, which is what drives the
machine, though. You can draw with most anything, it’s driving 5
axes that is the problem. I’d say/guess that when you went 5 axis
you stepped out of the bounds of your typical home/benchtop
machinist realm, though. Try this: http://www.powermill.com/ for a
start…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#3

http://www.rainnea.com/cnc_toolkit.htm

Jeff
Demand Designs


#4

Ravi,

The best software for driving a 5-axis machine is EMC2 and is FREE.
The only downside maybe is that it runs on Linux but this is not
really much of a problem as it is easy to set up a computer to run
both operating systems and many windows programs can be made to work
directly in linux. EMC2 is open source and has been used for a wide
range of control applications from simple mills and lathes up to
full blown flight simulators and robots. Look at www.linuxcnc.org
for more details and you can download a CD image from there that you
can either install onto your machine or just run as a live CD to
test the system (although running from the CD does slow everything
down considerably). There are also good support forums (fora?). For
a CAD package it would be hard to beat Artcam.

Best wishes,
Ian
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK


#5
You need to distinguish between drawing and CAM, which is what
drives the machine, 

Right-o on that one. If your looking for model generation software
that will give you tons of flexability, look into something that uses
the Rhino modeling engine (Based on the 3DSmax platform???) , I
believe GemVision uses this engine too. Solidworks is a good choice
to and has tons of plugins availble for various needs.

Now if your looking for something to generate code for the 5 axis I
would look into MasterCam (works within Solidworks) or GibbsCam.
These are going to be your top two CAM packages and pretty easy to
learn. There are others out there for a lot less money, so do your
homework, driving 5 axis’ isnt childs play. The main reason I would
recomend the two is the ability to get a custom post processor
specifically for your machine, generating G code without a ton of
editing.

Good Luck and keep us posted,
P@
www.patpruitt.com


#6
look into something that uses the Rhino modeling engine (Based on
the 3DSmax platform???) 

Just because I study 3d graphics and animation as a hobby— (and
please do correct me if I’m wrong). 3dsMax is now owned by Autodesk,
as is Maya, which makes Autodesk your basic graphics powerhouse.
Rhino began life as a sideline to a project to develop a 3d plugin
for Autocad - they scrapped the project because Rhino was so much
better. That’s the Autodesk connection. However, 3dsMax uses an
nPower kernel, while Rhino uses an OpenNurbs kernel, plus 3dsMax is
a mesh modeler, not a solids modeler. The other main 3d graphics
kernels are ACIS, owned by (ultimately) Dassault Systemes - that’s
Catia and others, Granite, which is PTC and Pro/E, and Parasolid
(owned by UGS), which is NX, Solidworks, Solidedge, Mastercam,
Virtual Gibs…Maya is ported from Irix - SGI workstations and
stuff - a whole nuther creature altogether. Just history and FYI…
If a person were to want to use real serious 5 axis software, then
Catia is what Lockheed, Boeing, Ford and many others use. PTC, NX and
Pro/E are probably next. Those are what the big boys use, anyway -
others, too, of course. Many of them use Rhino, too. Lately there’s
been a Ford truck campaign that shows them transforming and the like

  • that’s Catia. Anyway, just for conversation, really…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#7

You need to distinguish between drawing and CAM, which is what
drives the machine,

Right-o on that one. If your looking for model generation software
that will give you tons of flexability, look into something that
uses the Rhino modeling engine (Based on the 3DSmax platform???), I
believe GemVision uses this engine too. Solidworks is a good
choice to and has tons of plugins availble for various needs. 

Rhino is a very nice general-purpose 3d modeling (CAD) program, but
it has little to do with 3DS Max, besides being able to write to the
*.3ds format. Gemvision has built a jewelry-specific application
based on Rhino, which they sell as “Matrix”. Solidworks is a good
program for engineering, but it lacks the flexibility one might wish
for in an artistic modeling program. However it does have a
"parametric" interface, which allows specific properties, like the
thickness of a piece of sheet or the size of a hole, to be kept
constant while the piece they are part of is changed. As you can
imagine, this is a very handy feature to have, since otherwise to
make a ring, for example, one would need to rebuild it from scratch
when one scaled it down, since the thickness could become too small
to cast, and one would have to source stones that were slightly
smaller for each size down. The only jewelry-specific software I know
of that works this way is 3Design.

Now if your looking for something to generate code for the 5 axis
I would look into MasterCam (works within Solidworks) or GibbsCam.
These are going to be your top two CAM packages and pretty easy to
learn. There are others out there for a lot less money, so do your
homework, driving 5 axis' isnt childs play. The main reason I
would recomend the two is the ability to get a custom post
processor >specifically for your machine, generating G code without
a ton of editing. 

MasterCAM and GibbsCAM are market-leading programs in machine shops
around the US, but they are quite expensive and difficult to learn,
while the 4th and 5th-axis modules add a lot to the already-high cost
of the basic programs. Mecsoft’s VisualMill is less well-known, but
it is considerably easier to master, and less costly (although still
not exactly cheap). The current version 5 offers 5th axis
positioning, which means that a fifth axis can be used (to change the
angle of a tool, or the way the workpiece is held) but it won’t move
during the course of running a toolpath. They are working on a
soon-to-be-released version 6, which will expand the 5th-axis
functionality. I haven’t got the details yet on how exactly it’s
implementing 5-axis carving, but it should be a significant
improvement.

Andrew Werby
www.computersculpture.com


#8
MasterCAM and GibbsCAM are market-leading programs in machine
shops around the US, 

I don’t know Andrew (Werby) well, though we have met. He’s likely
the most knowlegable person here on CNC issues, though. The problem
is that jewelry is a poor stepchild when it comes to CNC machinery.
You can get all kinds of small machines, all of which are mentioned
here from time to time, and the software to drive them, but they
consider 4 axes to be the ultimate, pretty much - more than that
requires more rigidity and power than is possible in less than 10
tons and 35 hp., for one thing. It is a difficult issue for us all,
I think: What is the best software? A friend of mine lets me play
with Catia, occassionally, though I don’t actually know how to use
it (strict rules of course). I went through it and wrote down some
of the commands available, to illustrate here:

Tolerance analysis of deformable assembly
Delmia D5 Integration
Generative structural analysis
Automotive BIW Fastening
Prismatic Machining
Surface Machining
Advanced Machining
NC Manufacturing Review
STL Rapid Prototyping
Digital Mockup

Equipment and systems:
Conduit design
Raceway design
HVAC
Wiring Harness
Waveguide Design
Systems Routing
Circuit Board Design
Digital Process For Manufacturing

Ergonomics Design and Analysis:
Human Measurements Editor
Human Activity Analysis
Human Builder
Human Posture Analysis
Surfacic Curvature analysis
Isophotes Mapping
ACA Highlight

Paramaterization Analysis - and a very great many
more…

That’s about 1/25 of the buttons available, many of which are easy -
“draw curve”. But the point I’m making is that, even though it is
probably the top-of-the-line program for CNC manufacturing - it is
art2part, as are several others, and has extensive team project
abilities and database, too, it’s probably dreadfully bad for
jewelry manufacture. CNC manufacturing as a whole simply has
different parameters than jewelry does, by and large. Catia and
others are used by engineers - people who know what Isophotes
Mapping is, and why it’s important (no, I do not). So what is the
ideal program for a jewelry manufacturer to use for the art2part
process? I don’t personally know, and I’m not sure there is such a
thing at the moment. Catia, SolidWorks and the others are much too
ponderous and loaded with extraneous features from a jewelry
standpoint - maybe you will design a bearing raceway, but somehow I
doubt it. Even though they are the very best at what they do -
art2part is a big advantage - they are CAD and CAM all in one - no
translations, no transfers, no crap. And I don’t know how many axes
they all use but we’re talking many, plus toolchangers and
everything. But jewelry just doesn’t really have the same ease and
facility at this point in time, unfortunately. At least not that I
know of. As far as I know, there’s no 6 axis machining center with a
jewelry friendly program that’s running at 50,000 rpm. Jewelry
friendly means: What is Pave?, What is a ring size and how to adjust
it properly? And many other things related, and libraries, too… So,
as Andrew essentially says - try this, try that, whatever works for
you. Once you leave the 4 axis world, though, it’s not going to be
cheap. BTW (since it’s Sunday afternoon and I feel like writing)
there are two families of 3d graphics. Mesh modelers are 3dsMax,
Maya (one of the most powerful programs on earth), XSI, Lightwave,
others. They can export models that you can possibly get translated
properly in order to machine them, or not, but they are essentially
art programs. See the film Ratatoulle - it’s largely made with Maya,
and the film is the end result - it never really leaves the computer
and/or film. Remi is a hollow shell of a mouse, if you slice through
him. Solids Modelers, which are all of the ones mentioned here on
Orchid now and again, including Rhino, make solids that are intended
to export to machinery. E.G.: Maya or 3dsMax exports a fishnet with
a patina of paint on the surface, SolidWorks exports a solid ball
that a machine can understand and cut. While you maybe can draw with
3dsMax and export it and translate it to an STL file, it may or may
not work, and it is certainly the long way around. You’d probably
have to import it into something like Rhino anyway…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com