TrueMill is a significant milestone step in the long history of machining. TrueMill is the name for a patented set of
discoveries centered on controlling tool engagement while machining a part of almost any type or material. By controlling the
tool’s engagement with the material, TrueMill has repeatedly proven to greatly increase material removal rates (MRR), decrease
cycle times and extend tool life. The research and discoveries that went into the development of TrueMill took place (and
continue to occur) at the Camarillo, California-based CAM software company, Surfcam, Inc.
Click here to view TrueMill technical white paper, "A Closer Look at Toolpath Strategies"
or Download a TrueMill overview.
In 2001, mathematician and Surfware R&D expert Pat Patterson was presented with the question, why can’t we create a toolpath
where the tool engagement angle (TEA) or effective stepover does not change? He and Surfware co-founder Alan Diehl set to work on
this problem and within one year had developed an early working version of TrueMill. Over the next several years, the pair went
on to supervise the work of others in the firm, testing even more complex cases. In 2005, a patent application was filed.
Co-inventors were listed alphabetically regardless of their actual contribution. Since that time, additional components have been
added to the patent by filing a "continuation in part" application with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
As the science around TrueMill developed, so did the software implementation of the physics and mathematical principles behind it.
In 2005, Surfware released SURFCAM Velocity Powered by TrueMill. Companies with machining applications worldwide embraced the
technology with outstanding results, but there was still more work to do. With the release of SURFCAM V5 Powered by TrueMill,
issues that limited some TrueMill functionality were solved, numerous enhancements were implemented, and early users have generated
How It Works
TrueMill toolpaths are very different from other tool motion paths. All corners, all the sharp directional changes have been
effectively eliminated. The tool never plows into a corner. The technology works on all part shapes. Rather than generating toolpaths
based on a given stepover value and the shape of the geometry being machined, TrueMill manages tool-engagement angles to produce
toolpaths that are far superior to anything on the market today. The net result is that much more aggressive cutting parameters can
be used, resulting in dramatically reduced cycle times.
The core problem in milling has always been the inability to control the cutting tool’s engagement with the material. This makes
it physically impossible to keep the load on the tool constant and forces machines to be run at far less aggressive cutting parameters
than they are capable of, resulting in longer cycle times. TrueMill solves this core problem. The motion of the toolpath is designed
with consideration for the in-process material boundary everywhere along the toolpath to ensure that the tool is never over-engaged.
The toolpath does not require adjustment because the tool will never be buried in the first place. The toolpath stays as close as
possible to the desired engagement angle without ever exceeding it.
TrueMill toolpaths are engagement-angle driven, not geometry driven. In other words, the shape of the geometry doesn’t dictate the
flow of the toolpath. Rather, each cut is made such that the next cut can be made at the desired engagement angle. The part shape is
ultimately produced, of course, but it doesn’t really become apparent until the final passes of the tool. Because of this smooth, flowing,
engagement-controlled motion, SURFCAM V5 Powered by TrueMill can be run at feedrates, spindle speeds, depths of cut and stepovers
that might at first seem impossible.
The current approach to high-speed machining involves taking very light cuts. TrueMill enables the machine to run at high speeds with
much heavier cuts. Also, due to the even loads, there is less stress on the machine and the cutting tool. Tool life is actually extended
while cycle times are reduced. These two concepts used to be mutually exclusive.
Specialized toolpaths are usually the result of treating a symptom of the problem, rather than solving the problem itself. With TrueMill,
the core problem that produced all of these symptoms in the first place has been solved. Since there are no symptoms to treat, there is no
need for multiple, gimmicky toolpath options. There is just one strategy that works in all cases. It even removes the distinction between
pocketing and contouring or profiling. You just select your geometry and TrueMill knows what to do.
As an example, The Modern Machine Shop article titled How to Machine Aircraft Titanium is a spot-on
description of how TrueMill works in cutting titanium.
For any company machining a part, SURFCAM V5 Powered by TrueMill will make a dramatic difference to bottom line costs and
profitability. With the ability to cut even the hardest materials at rates up to 100% faster, the doubling and tripling of tool life and
“lights out” operation of even the most complex jobs, the positive effects ripple up and down operations and functions and include (but
are not limited to):
- Time savings (more parts can be created in less time)
- Machine savings (more can be done on a less expensive machine)
- Tool replacement savings
- Time to market savings
- Energy savings
- Personnel savings
Because TrueMill technology is useful to so many industries, in addition to software sales, Surfware will be providing custom solutions and
offering turnkey solutions as well as partnering with vendors of complementary technologies to ensure that all users achieve maximum success.
- No need for multiple pocketing routines
- No sharp corners or abrupt changes in direction
- Enhances the performance of any machining hardware (cutting tools, tool holders, machine tools, controllers)
- Machine Tool & Cutting Tool life is extended
- Works on any CNC milling machine
Contact your local sales partner for more information.