3D Milling

3D milling is the ability of the machine tool in conjunction with the relevant software to produce complicated 3 Dimensional Parts.

3D milling can be undertaken by many Machine type including Horizontal milling machines, Vertical Milling Machines, 5 Axis Milling Machines, Some vertical and Horizontal machines have Universal heads that can be indexed to any angle either manually or via the controller, for this introduction we will concentrate on a vertical machining centre.

In this exaple we will go through the process to machine the block on the left, all we are concerned with is the form, the block has been made to size, so we will be machining only part of the job.

assume we have clamped and set the datum for the job, the first thing we need to do is consider the stratagy for maching, this factor is determined by many factors Size, material type, tools available etc. to program this job manually would take a long time.

this is where NC CAM software for the manufacture of the complex shapes comes in, SprutCam, Lemoine RTM and Delcam Powermill are just a couple of programs on the market.

First you have to import your model, set cutting bounderies, block size, toolpath stratergies (raster roughing, constant z finishing etc ), Tool type ( ball nose, end mill etc ), cutting allowance if roughing 1mm, semi finish .5mm, finish 0mm these figures are just examples to give an idea.

Simulate the toolpath this will show any strange moves or errors, and finally post procces your toolpath into machine code and read it into your machine.

Large files on older machines are usually drip fed but on newer machines they can be read straight in