Introduction toMultiaxis Toolpaths

mastercam x getting started tutorialsIntroduction toMultiaxis ToolpathsDecember 2011Be sure you have the latest information!Information might have been changed or added since this document waspublished. Contact your local Reseller for the latest information.

II INTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHSMastercam X6 Introduction to Multiaxis ToolpathsDate: December 2011Copyright 2011 CNC Software, Inc.— All rights reserved.First Printing: December 2011Software: Mastercam X6TERMS OF USEUse of this document is subject to the Mastercam End User License Agreement.A copy of the Mastercam End User License Agreement is included with theMastercam product package of which this document is part. The MastercamEnd User License Agreement can also be found

ContentsIntroduction . 1XXTutorial Goals. 1Introduction to Multiaxis Toolpath Requirements . 1General Tutorial Requirements . 21. Basic Machine Overview. 3XXXTable/Table Machine . 4Head/Table Machine . 5Head/Head Machine . 72. Multiaxis Toolpath Controls Overview . 9XXXCut Pattern . 9Tool Axis Control . 10Tool Tip Control . 113. Mastercam Interface and Workflow.XXXCut Pattern Page . 14Tool Axis Control Page . 15Collision Control Page . 164. Multiaxis Curve Toolpath.XXXXX1319Lesson Goals . 19Exercise 1: Getting Started with Toolpath Creation. 19Exercise 2: Create a Multiaxis Curve Toolpath. 21Exercise 3: Backplot the Operation . 27Exercise 4: Machine Simulation. 29

IV INTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS5. Tool Axis Control Options .XXXXLesson Goals . 31Exercise 1: Preparing the Part . 31Exercise 2: Copy and Edit an Operation. 32Exercise 3: Copy and Edit a Second Operation. 356. Multiaxis Drill Toolpath.XXXXX3139Lesson Goals . 39Exercise 1: Getting Started with Toolpath Creation. 39Exercise 2: Create a Multiaxis Drill Toolpath . 41Exercise 3: Add a Second Multiaxis Drill Operation. 46Exercise 4: Backplot the operations . 49Conclusion . 51XXMastercam Resources . 51Mastercam Documentation . 53Contact Us . 53

!"# %&'(#!%"This tutorial introduces the concepts of multiaxis machining, beginning with themachine architecture and ending with multiaxis toolpath creation. Multiaxis toolpaths are basically the familiar contour, pocket, and surface toolpaths in X,Y, and Z,with rotational motion added in A, B, and C. The available axes vary based on yourparticular machine setup.The workflow is consistent regardless of the Multiaxis toolpath selected.Mastercam’s Multiaxis interface follows a uniform structure through the toolpathingprocess. Select the toolpath family, select a toolpath type, progress from top tobottom through the tree style interface, enter parameters on the necessary pages,and generate the toolpath. Additional tools such as Backplot and MachineSimulation allow you to review your toolpath before cutting begins on the machine.You will gain a general understanding of the multiaxis process by completing thistutorial. The information contained in these pages will allow you to begin gainingthe knowledge and confidence to work with Mastercam’s Multiaxis toolpaths.Further information on multiaxis toolpaths can be found in subsequent Focus Seriesmultiaxis tutorials.Tutorial Goals Understand the basic architecture of a multiaxis machine Review the controls of a multiaxis toolpath: cut pattern, tool axis control,and tool tip control Follow the workflow of Mastercam’s Multiaxis toolpath interface Create and modify a Multiaxis Curve toolpath Create and modify a Multiaxis Drill toolpathIntroduction to Multiaxis Toolpath Requirements Mastercam X6 with Mill Level 1 or Mastercam Router, or higher level seat Curve 5-axis / Drill 5-axis add-on (included in the Multiaxis add-on)IMPORTANT: Screen colors in the tutorial pictures were modified toenhance image quality; they may not match your Mastercam settings orthe tutorial results. These color differences do not affect the lesson orthe exercise results.

2 INTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATH REQUIREMENTSGeneral Tutorial RequirementsAll Mastercam tutorials have the following general requirements: You must be comfortable using the Windows operating system. The tutorials cannot be used with Mastercam Demo/Home LearningEdition (HLE). The Demo/HLE file format (EMCX-6) is different fromMastercam (MCX-6), and basic Mastercam functions, such as fileconversions and posting, are unavailable. Each lesson in the tutorial builds on the mastery of preceding lesson’s skills.We recommend that you complete them in order. Focus Series and Exploring Series tutorials require, at minimum, a mastery ofthe basic Mastercam skills taught in the Getting Started Series modules. Ageneral knowledge of machining principals and practices is also required. You must have a seat of Mastercam X6 Design or higher to complete most ofthe tutorials in the Getting Started Series. The Basic 2D Machining module in the Getting Started Series requires, atminimum, a seat of Mill Entry or Router Entry. The Basic 3D Machining module in the Getting Started Series requires MillLevel 3 or Router Pro. Additional files may accompany a tutorial. Unless the tutorial providesspecific instructions on where to place these files, store them in a folder thatcan be accessed from the Mastercam workstation, either with the tutorial orin any location that you prefer. The Getting Started Series tutorials are available in an Adobe Flash compatible video format. Additional tutorial videos may also be available.Contact your local Mastercam Reseller for more information. You must install Adobe Flash Player to display tutorial videos. You candownload Adobe Flash Player from All Mastercam tutorials require you to configure Mastercam to work in adefault metric or English configuration. The tutorial provides instructionsfor loading the appropriate configuration file.INTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

)* %",-Basic Machine Overview1The first thing to notice about a multiaxis machine is the additional axes available.Instead of a straightforward machine with XYZ axes capabilities, you now have amachine capable of handling five or more axes of motion. Typically the axes aredefined as XYZ / ABC / UVW as shown below.The axes may be in a different orientation, or have different relationships. The mainpoint is that your machine now has a much greater range of motion than a standard3-axis vertical or horizontal machine.The added motion of a multiaxis machine greatly enhances the capabilities of yourshop, as well as expanding the variety of parts that can be machined. However, dueto the enhanced power of the machine, there really is no such thing as a “standard5-axis machine”. Nearly every machine is unique in its axes combination, orientation, travel and rotation limits, and controller.Common terms for multiaxis machines are table/table, head/table, and head/head.These terms describe the relationship of the rotary components on the machine.

4 TABLE/TABLE MACHINEThe configuration of the rotaries determines the zero location of the machine andhow you need to locate the part within Mastercam. The part must be located inMastercam where it will be sitting on the machine. The only exception is for a head/head arrangement.IMPORTANT: Improper location of your geometry will cause the part tobe cut incorrectly.Table/Table MachineA table/table machine has both rotary axes connected and attached to the table.Typically this is a trunnion carrying a rotary table. The machine axes zero position islocated at the intersection of rotary axes. Your part is located in Mastercam relativeto the machine zero position. The rotary components are shown in red in the imagesbelow.Table/Table configurationINTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

BASIC MACHINE OVERVIEW 5Table/Table machine zeroHead/Table MachineA head/table machine has one rotary on the table and the other on the spindle. Theyoperate independently of each other. The table could be comprised of a trunnion orsimply a rotary attached to the table. The machine axis zero is located at the intersection of the rotary axes. Your part is located in Mastercam relative to the machinezero position, as in the table/table configuration. The rotary components are shownin red in the following images.INTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS


BASIC MACHINE OVERVIEW 7Head/Head MachineA head/head machine has both rotary axes connected and attached to the spindle.The machine axis zero is typically located on the face of the spindle. The origin isshown on the table in the second image as this is where the spindle face lies when allaxes are set to zero. The rotary components are shown in red in the images below.Head/Head configurationINTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

8 HEAD/HEAD MACHINEHead/Head machine zeroThese are the basic arrangements of multiaxis machines. Be aware that multiaxismachines may be as simple as a single rotary for 4-axis work, or as complex as havingfive axes and a nutating head. No matter how the machine is configured, the inputsfor a good toolpath follow the same pattern from machine to machine. Continue onto Lesson 2 to learn about the necessary controls for creating an efficient multiaxistoolpath.INTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

)* %",.Multiaxis Toolpath ControlsOverview2Three controls separate multiaxis toolpaths from the typical 2- and 3-axis toolpaths: Cut Pattern Tool Axis Control Tool Tip ControlEffective use of these controls is the deciding factor in your ability to create efficienttoolpaths for your particular machine. This tutorial starts you on the path tobecoming a more effective programmer. However, there is no substitute for experience and knowing your machine’s capabilities.Cut PatternWhat do I want the tool to follow? The answer is the cut pattern. Selecting a toolpathfamily is the initial phase of establishing the cut pattern. Different toolpath familiesvary the type of geometry allowed for the cut pattern. Geometry selection can rangefrom a contour or chain, to a surface edge or edges, and on through single ormultiple surfaces or solids. Below are two examples of cut pattern selections.CurveSurface

10 TOOL AXIS CONTROLIn addition to the geometry selected for the toolpath, cut pattern includes suchparameters as: Cutting method: zigzag, one way, spiral Compensation: type and direction Stock to leave: drive surfaces, walls Stepover: across, along, incrementSubsequent lessons and tutorials will cover cut pattern options in more detail.Tool Axis ControlHow do I want my tool axis to behave as it follows the cut pattern? Tool axis controlanswers this question. Multiaxis toolpaths include numerous options on how tomanipulate the tool axis. The options allow you to control the part of the tool incontact with the material, and the amount of tool movement the toolpath generates,as well as being able to set the number of axes of output for the posted toolpath.Below are two examples of tool axis control.SurfaceFrom pointToolpath family and toolpath type determine which tool axis controls you canaccess. Some examples of the controls available include: Classic: Lines, surface, from point, chain Wireframe: Tilted relative to cutting direction, tilted through curveINTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

MULTIAXIS TOOLPATH CONTROLS OVERVIEW 11 Surface/Solid: Tilted from curve away, tilted with fixed angle to axis Drill/Circle Mill: Parallel to line, surface, plane Convert to 5x: Tilted through lines, tilted through point Custom App: Set automatically for these toolpath typesClick the Help button to find further details on the available options and their function.Tool Tip ControlWhat controls the depth of the tool along the tool axis? Tool tip control handles thisfunction. Compensation surfaces are included in tool tip control. Applying tool tipcontrol is a three step process:1Tool positions are generated along the selected cut pattern.2 Tool axis vectors are created at each position based on the tool axis controlsettings.INTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

12 TOOL TIP CONTROL3 Depth along the tool axis is applied based on the tip compensation method.TIP: Use the method depicted above when you have very complicated,or less than perfect, part geometry. The clean core geometry is used togenerate the cut pattern and tool axis control vectors. Tip control is thenused to cut the outer surfaces with much cleaner motion.The three controls described above form the core of all your multiaxis toolpaths.Additional refinement is added through collision control, linking, tool selection, andmore. Building confidence with these controls will greatly ease and enhance yourability to generate efficient multiaxis toolpaths. Continue on to Lesson 3 to see howthese controls are an integral part of the multiaxis workflow within Mastercam.INTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

)* %",/Mastercam Interface and Workflow3Mastercam’s Multiaxis toolpath interface follows the familiar tree-style layout introduced in recent releases. You progress through the pages of the tree, make the necessary selections, enter appropriate parameters, and generate your toolpath. Viewingthe process in simplified terms helps to lessen the complexity of creating a multiaxistoolpath.Begin the toolpath creation process by selecting an appropriate machine definition.This applies to all toolpath types in Mastercam. After selecting a machine definitionthat supports multiaxis movement, choose the Multiaxis option from the Toolpathsmenu. The following image shows the starting point for a Curve toolpath, found inthe Classic toolpath family.1) Toolpath Type page selection2) Classic toolpath family selection3) Curve toolpath type selection

14 CUT PATTERN PAGEMultiaxis toolpaths are divided into six toolpath families. Each toolpath familycontains different toolpath types. Selecting the most efficient type will come fromexperience and usage. For now, let’s focus on the general workflow rather thanspecific applications.The tree structure provides the basic roadmap tocreating a toolpath. While you are free to select thepages as needed, the most efficient route is to travelfrom top to bottom. Click the plus sign in front of anypage to expose additional pages for input.The pages within the tree structure vary with the toolpath type. The procedure remains the same regardlessof what the tree looks like. Answer the questions: What do I want the tool to follow? How do I want my tool axis to behave? What controls the depth along the tool axis?And you are well on your way to generating a multiaxistoolpath.Cut Pattern PageThe pages discussed in the previous lesson are the pivotal pages for multiaxis work.The cut pattern page is where you select your drive geometry, set compensationINTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

MASTERCAM INTERFACE AND WORKFLOW 15parameters, and set various other options. Below is a sample of the cut pattern pagefor a multiaxis Curve toolpath.Tool Axis Control PageThe Tool Axis Control page defines the tilting motion of the tool axis as it movesalong the cut pattern. The options available vary by toolpath type, just as the treestructure and other pages vary. Tool axis control is what sets multiaxis toolpathsapart from 2- and 3-axis toolpaths. The ability to manipulate the tool axis allows forINTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

16 COLLISION CONTROL PAGEcomplex and powerful control. Below is a sample of the Tool Axis Control page for amultiaxis Curve toolpath.Collision Control PageTool tip control does not have its own page like the other two controls. It can befound on the Collision Control page. Use the parameters to instruct Mastercam howINTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

MASTERCAM INTERFACE AND WORKFLOW 17the tip of the tool should be placed in relation to the cut pattern. Below is a sample ofthe Collision Control page for a multiaxis Curve toolpath.Complete the remaining pages in the tree if necessary. Additional parametersinclude linking information (how the tool moves when not in contact with material)and roughing options. The Additional Settings branch provides pages that generallydo not need to be touched for multiaxis programming. Review them and click Help ifyou would like to know details about these pages. Continue on to Lesson 4 to begincreating a multiaxis Curve toolpath.INTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS


)* %",0Multiaxis Curve Toolpath4Experience with design and toolpath creation is assumed at this point of the tutorial.Detailed steps on such actions as selecting a machine definition, changing thegraphics view or construction plane, or making levels visible, will not be provided.Please review the Basic 3D Design and Basic 3D Machining tutorials beforecontinuing if you are not familiar with these concepts.Lesson Goals Open a part file and assign a machine definition. Create a Multiaxis Curve toolpath. Backplot the toolpath.Exercise 1: Getting Started with Toolpath CreationAssigning a machine definition is the first essential step in creating a toolpath.Setting the graphics view to allow the easiest geometry selection plays a small part invisualizing your work. This exercise guides you through the initial steps involvedwith creating a toolpath.1 Start Mastercam using yourpreferred method: Double-click Mastercam’sdesktop icon.Or Launch Mastercam from theWindows Start menu.2 Select the default metric configuration file:

20 GETTING STARTED WITH TOOLPATH CREATIONa Select Settings, Configurationfrom Mastercam’s menu.b Choose .\mcamxm.config Metric from the Current drop-down list.c Click OK.3 Open the part file Curve Toolpath.MCX-6, which was provided with thetutorial.4 Select the default Mill metric machine definition.INTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

MULTIAXIS CURVE TOOLPATH 21Note: The default machine definition has rotary axes defined that allowmultiaxis toolpaths. Load the machine definition of your choice as long asit supports 5-axis motion.5 Set your graphics view to Isometric.6 Activate shading if necessary.7 Fit the geometry to the screen using [Alt F1] or the Fit button.8 Choose File, Save As, and save the part under a different file name. Thisprotects the original tutorial file from being overwritten.Exercise 2: Create a Multiaxis Curve ToolpathCreating a toolpath involves selecting the toolpath type, tool, and geometry, as wellas completing the parameter pages. Completing this process yields a programcapable of cutting your part on a machine.1 From the Mastercam menu, chooseToolpaths, Multiaxis.2 Click OK if prompted to enter a newNC file name.INTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

22 CREATE A MULTIAXIS CURVE TOOLPATH3 Select Classic and Curve on theToolpath Type page.4 Select Tool from the Tree View pane.5 Click the Select library tool button.The tool library defined in themachine definition opens.6 Select the 8mm ball endmill and click OK.7 Select Cut Pattern from the Tree View pane.8 Choose 3D Curves from the Curve type drop-down selection.9 Click the Select button next to 3D Curves to return to the graphics windowfor curve selection.INTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

MULTIAXIS CURVE TOOLPATH 2310 Select the chain on the edge of the part as shown. The start position is notimportant for the purpose of the tutorial. The chain should go in a clockwisedirection, regardless of the start point.11 Click OK on the Chaining dialog box to return to the Cut Pattern page.INTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

24 CREATE A MULTIAXIS CURVE TOOLPATH12 Set the remaining parameters as shown.TIP: The radial offset value for this particular operation should equal thetool radius. Use this field in a similar manner as a stock to leave. A valueequal to the tool radius is equivalent to zero stock to leave. Take advantage of this functionality for trimming operations.13 Select Tool Axis Control from the Tree View pane.14 Choose To point from the Tool axis control drop-down selection.15 Click the Select button next to To point to return to the graphics window forpoint selection.INTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

MULTIAXIS CURVE TOOLPATH 2516 Select the point as indicated.You return to the Tool Axis Controlpage as soon as you select thepoint.17 Set the remaining parameters as shown.TIP: Click in a field to see a progressive image on the right side of thepage. The image depicts what the field controls. Click Help for detailedinformation on each field.18 Select Collision Control from the Tree View pane.INTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

26 CREATE A MULTIAXIS CURVE TOOLPATH19 Set Vector depth to -10.0. The value allows the curve operation to trim thepart with the side of the tool, avoiding the ball portion at the tip.The images below show how the difference between vector depth valuesaffects the toolpath.Vector depth 0.0Vector depth negative20 Select Roughing from the Tree View pane.INTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

MULTIAXIS CURVE TOOLPATH 2721 Deselect Multi Passes.Trimming operations using a Curvetoolpath generally utilize a singlepass.22 Click OK to generate the multiaxis curve toolpath on the selected geometry.23 Save your part file.Exercise 3: Backplot the OperationBackplotting an operation allows you to review the tool motion before any cuttingtakes place on the actual machine. Backplot should be the first step in validatingyour toolpath.INTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

28 BACKPLOT THE OPERATION1 Click Backplot selected operationsin the Toolpath Manager.2 In the Backplot dialog box, selectthe Display tool and Display rapidmoves buttons.3 Click Options in the Backplotdialog box.4 Deselect the options shown andclick OK. This prevents your partfrom spinning around and movingout of view.5 Click Play to begin the backplot of your toolpath.INTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

MULTIAXIS CURVE TOOLPATH 296 Click OK in the Backplot dialog box when you have finished reviewing thetool motion.Exercise 4: Machine SimulationMachine simulation is the next step in validating your operations. The tool motion isshown on your part as it is positioned on your machine. Collisions between variousmachine components and the part are visually apparent as well as being reported intext on the screen. The following is a quick run-through of Machine Simulation. For amore detailed explanation, review Help as well as the Focus Series Tutorial: MachineSimulation.1 Right-click in Mastercam’s toolbararea.2 Select Machine Simulation fromthe list of toolbars to make it visible.The Machine Simulation toolbar isnot on by default.3 Click Simulation startup settingsto select a machine to display themotion on.4 Select 6 5AXGEN VMCHTAC fromthe drop-down list of machines.The machine selection is saved withthe part file. Running simulation onthe same part file will reload theselected machine.INTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

30 MACHINE SIMULATION5 Click Simulate to begin themachine simulation of the selectedoperation.6 Use the simulation playback buttons to review the tool motion contained inyour operations.7 Click Exit from within machinesimulation to return to theMastercam interface.8 Save your part file. The same file will be used in a subsequent lesson.You have now completed a basic multiaxis curve toolpath. Curve is generally usedfor trimming operations. The motion is typically straightforward, making it an idealtoolpath for demonstrating some different tool axis control strategies and the effectsthey can produce on the tool. Proceed to Lesson 5 to explore these strategies.INTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

)* %",1Tool Axis Control Options5Tool axis control is what separates multiaxis toolpaths from normal surface, chain,and point toolpaths. The ability to manipulate the angle of the tool, relative to thecut pattern, puts a great amount of control in your hands. The cut speed, finishquality, and tool life can all be affected with tool axis control. Complete this lesson togain exposure with two additional tool axis control options for a multiaxis Curvetoolpath.Lesson Goals Open a previously saved part. Edit the operation’s parameters, specifically tool axis control. Generate the toolpath and observe the tool motion.Exercise 1: Preparing the Part1 Use File, Open to open the part file saved in the previous lesson. If the file isunavailable, open the part file Curve Toolpath Lesson 5.MCX-6, whichwas provided with the tutorial.2 Set your graphics view to Isometric.3 Activate shading if necessary.4 Fit the geometry to the screen using [Alt F1] or the Fit button.5 Choose File, Save As, and save the part under a different file name. Thisprotects the original tutorial file from being overwritten.

32 COPY AND EDIT AN OPERATIONExercise 2: Copy and Edit an Operation1 Right-click on the first operationand hold the mouse button down.2 Drag the operation to a positionfarther down the ToolpathManager.3 Release the right mouse button andselect Copy after.4 Select operation 1 and turn off thetoolpath display. Press [T] or clickToggle display on selectedoperations.The visible toolpath belongs tooperation 2.5 Use the Level Manager to make level 7:Chain visible.The geometry on level 7 is used for tool axis control in this exercise.6 Click Parameters under operation2. The Multiaxis Toolpath - Curvedialog box opens.7 Select Tool from the Tree View pane.INTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

TOOL AXIS CONTROL OPTIONS 338 Enter Chain in the Comment box.A comment helps to distinguishoperations of the same toolpathtype.9 Select Tool Axis Control from the Tree View pane.10 Choose Chain from the tool axis control drop-down selection.11 Click Select to open the Chain Options dialog box.12 Select Closest point on chain, thenclick the Select Chain button.INTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

34 COPY AND EDIT AN OPERATION13 Select the chain as shown.14 Click OK in the Chaining dialog box and the Chain Options dialog box. Youreturn to the Tool Axis Control page.15 Click OK to accept the parameter changes.16 Click Regenerate all dirtyoperations in the ToolpathManager.17 Backplot the operation to observe the tool motion.18 Save your part file.At this point in the lesson, take a moment to review the two operations created.Operation 1 uses To point for tool axis control. The tool is always pointing at theselected point. Operation 2 uses Chain for tool axis control. The tool is alwayspointing from a point on the chain, in this case, the closest point of the chain. Thedifferent options create drastically different tool and machine motion. The edge ofthe part will also have a different taper depending on the tool axis.Toggle the toolpath display for the two operations so that they are both visible.Notice the different tool angle around the entire part shown below. Backplot theoperations to see the different tool motion. Select both operations and run MachineSimulation as in the previous lesson. A collision is reported for operation 2 beforeINTRODUCTION TO MULTIAXIS TOOLPATHS

TOOL AXIS CONTROL OPTIONS 35you even run the simulation. This indicates that using the existing chain for tool axiscontrol is not going to work on this particular machine. This does not indicate a badtoolpath; only the fact that this toolpath will not run on the selected machine.Exercise 3: Copy and Edit a Second

General Tutorial Requirements All Mastercam tutorials have the following general requirements: You must be comfortable using the Windows operating system. The tutorials cannot be used with Mastercam Demo/Home Learning Edition (HLE). The Demo/HLE file format ( EMCX-6) is different from Maste