Located in Woodinville, WA, Precor Inc. has been a leader in
high quality fitness products since 1981 and gains its manufacturing support from a group of three shops. These
include ME Tooling Dept., Component Manufacturing Machine Shops, and Model Shop.
As time passed, it became clear that the CAM system that
they were using did not support the more complex projects of their new manufacturing demands. After trying different
CAM systems, Precor found that SURFCAM was not only affordable but also easy to use and followed up with superior
support from the SURFCAM technical support staff. The first seat was purchased in 1998, and by 2003 SURFCAM was the
sole CAM system being used by Precor. With the release of Velocity in 2005, production was quickly adapted to work
with the revolutionary TrueMill technology.
"Recently, we started using the new Ramp-Mills from SwiftCarb
that are created to be used in conjunction with SURFCAM’s TrueMill. Using these two components together, we have seen
a reduction in cycle time from 73 min to 50 min which allows for an increase of machine cycles per shift, increasing
productivity by 128 components," says Merrill Kincade
"Thanks to TrueMill’s complete control of the radial depth
of cut (or tool engagement), we are able to not only machine our parts faster but also enhance our tool life. We
started running the Ramp-Mill in March 2009 and didn’t have to change it out until September 2009—7,000 components
and six months later."
"We are truly amazed!"
Would you like to enhance your skills and become more productive with SURFCAM? Click Here to
see the SURFCAM Training Calendar to find the next training session near you!
Did you know?
SURFCAM's SolidWorks associativity enables users to directly open native SolidWorks files, eliminating the translation
SURFCAM automatically recognizes any design revisions in the solid model and regenerates only affected toolpaths.
Surfware is proud to be a SolidWorks Solutions Partner.
If you are interested in reviewing past newsletters in our archive, click on the link.
The Benefits of Multi-Axis Machining Strategies
SURFCAM Tech Tip
Dear SURFCAM Customer,
This has been an exciting time for Surfware. In late August, the lawsuit filed by Surfware, Inc. against Celeritive Technologies was
settled before going to trial. Under the terms of the settlement, Celeritive has licensed certain portions of Surfware's proprietary
technology. However the most important claims of Surfware's patent, as implemented in the award-winning TrueMill, were not licensed to
Celeritive. This means that only Surfware's TrueMill technology implements Engagement Milling.
By keeping the tool's engagement limited by a user defined value across the entire toolpath, TrueMill reduces the heat generated
and extends the tool life by at least a factor of two. This allows for deeper cuts, higher (and constant) feedrates, and an overall
higher MRR (material removal rate) than any other CAM system or toolpath on the market today. If you have not already seen it,
to see how TrueMill allows machinists to cut titanium as easily as aluminum.
Everybody here at Surfware is committed to offering a high quality product. In the coming months, look for the TrueMill
Challenge and the next exciting release, SURFCAM V5!
With Best Regards,
CEO and Board Chairman
The Benefits of Multi-Axis Machining Strategies
by Josh Lucas, SURFCAM Applications Engineer
In today's highly competitive machining environment even the slightest advantage over the
competition can mean the difference
between success and failure. Adding 4 & 5 Axis simultaneous machining capabilities to your shop can give you an advantage that is
anything but slight. Simultaneous multi-axis machining has a wide range of benefits, from cutting complex multi-axis parts in a single
setup to the ability to use shorter tooling, allowing for increased cutting speeds and extended tool life. As you will see here the
benefits are great and in many cases can easily justify the costs of implementing such capabilities.
Probably the single largest advantage to simultaneous 4 & 5 Axis machining is the ability to cut complex multi-axis parts in a
single setup. By eliminating multiple setups you also eliminate a number of costly and time consuming steps that would normally be
required using traditional machining strategies. Fewer setups means less time spent programming, less operator time at the machine
and far less money spent on specialized tooling and fixturing. This can be extremely beneficial when it comes to the simple task of
drilling holes. Many times additional fixturing is required solely for the purpose of drilling a series of holes with different axial
orientations, even when the part itself can be easily machined from a single setup. Another notable advantage of reducing the number
of setups is greater part accuracy and consistency. Limiting the number of times that a part must be repositioned during the manufacturing
process greatly reduces the risk of human error and helps to ensure the highest level of repeatability.
Traditional 3-axis toolpath relies on the very tip of the tool to do the majority of the work.
By using a 5-axis strategy with a 30 degree side angle, the contact point of the cutter is moved to a much more desirable location, increasing surface speed and allowing for more aggressive cutting parameters.
Often times when using traditional 3-Axis machining strategies you are forced to do the majority of your cutting with the tip of the
tool, when using a ball mill this can be less than desirable. With 4 & 5 Axis simultaneous milling you have the ability to specify the
lead and/or side angle of your cutter which can have a significant effect on its overall performance. By simply adjusting the side angle
of the tool and moving the contact point further up the radius you can increase the effective surface speed at the contact point, allowing
for greater feed rates and more efficient material removal. The opposite of this is also true when cutting flat surfaces that are off axis.
In a 3-Axis mill these flat areas would have to be surfaced with a ball mill or repositioned in another setup to be cut effectively. With 4
& 5 axis these surfaces can be addressed with a standard flat bottom end mill, saving machine time and producing a better finished product.
Many complex parts and molds contain features that when ran in a 3-Axis machine require
the use of very long tools which is never a desirable
scenario. The ideal situation is
to have a tool that is just long enough to effectively cut your part so that you avoid sacrificing rigidity on
a tool that is longer than it needs to be. 4 & 5 axis machining enables the use of shorter tools by allowing you to orient the work to the tool
in such a way that provides the greatest amount of clearance. This can be extremely advantageous in deep cavities where the ability to tilt the
part 30 or 40 degrees can significantly reduce the length of the tool required to complete the job, resulting in higher federates, longer tool
life and superior surface finish.
With a traditional 3-axis toolpath and a 3/8" Dia. Ball Mill, a 2.00" gauge length is the very minimum that will allow a clearance in this particular situation.
Here, utilizing a 5-axis approach you are able to use the same 3/8" Ball Mill but can recuce the gauge length from 2.00" to 1.25" greatly increasing the rigidity of your tool.
The advantages of 4 & 5 Axis machining are vast. The ability to manufacture complex parts with less programming and setup costs while at
the same time producing a product of superior quality can really help you gain the advantage needed in today's manufacturing environment.
SURFCAM offers true simultaneous 4- and 5-axis machining, full visualization and verification. This enables the NC programmer to gain
precise control over every aspect of multi-axis machining, ensuring safe tool motion in the most challenging applications. 4/5-Axis
provides support for all standard tools with collision checking, avoidance, toolpath containment and more.