How to Define a Setup for 2½ / 3 Axis Milling in MecSoft CAM

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This tutorial assumes that you are familiar with how to load the MILL module from your MecSoft CAM plugin and that you have previously completed the MILL Quick Start Guide. You can find this guide by selecting Learn … from the MecSoft CAM Main Menu (in VisualCAD/CAM, RhinoCAM, VisualCAM for SOLIDWORKS or AlibreCAM). 
The Setup for both 2½ Axis and 3 Axis machining jobs includes the Machine definition, Post, Stock, Alignment and Material. These occupy the first two panes on the left side of the Program tab shown here. While there are many different options available for defining these items, we are selecting the most common methods users will need. The procedure also includes a Work Zero. While optional, the Work Zero is a very common method used to define the Machine Coordinate System (MCS) origin in a location other than the World Coordinate System (WCS) origin.

The 2½ / 3 Axis Setup

At the end if this tutorial the Machining Job and display will look similar to this:


The Procedure

Here is the procedure for defining a Setup for both 2½ and 3 Axis Machining jobs. All the commands and dialogs can be accessed from the Program tab of the Machining Browser.
1. You will be working from the Program tab of the MILL module Machining Browser.

2. From the Program tab select Machine.

3. From the Machine Tool Setup dialog set the Number of Axis to 3 Axis and pick OK.

4. Now select Post and select your post processor from the list. Also be sure the post file extension matches what your CNC controller is expecting and then pick OK.

5. By default, a Setup1 is created that is aligned with the World Coordinate System (WCS) Origin in the host CAD system. For this part we do not need to change it. However, if you need to change it, from the Program tab select Setup and then Setup again to display the Setup dialog and make any adjustments needed.

6. Now let’s define the stock. From the Program tab select the Stock menu and then select Box Stock.

7. From here, select Copy Model Bounding Box to calculate and display the minimum dimensions of the stock box. Then make any adjustments to the Length, Width and Height as needed and pick OK. Our stock dimensions will be 15 x 3.5 x 0.75.

8. To align the stock to the part model, select Align Stock from the Align menu on the Program tab.

9. From here set Z Alignment to Bottom and XY Alignment to Center and pick OK. The stock is now aligned flush to the bottom of the part in Z and centered in the XY. Now pick OK to close the dialog.

10. Now we will set the stock material. From the Program tab select Material to display the dialog. For material select ALUMINUM – 6061 from the list of materials and then pick OK.

11. For this part we want a program zero to be located at the top left corner of the stock. To do this we select Work Zero from the Program tab to display the dialog.

12. From the dialog select Set to Stock Box, then set Zero Face to Highest Z and then set Zero Position to South West and then pick Generate.

13. The Work Zero is generated and listed under Setup1 in the Machining Job tree. It is also displayed on the part. If you do not see the Work Zero triad, there is a button located at the bottom of the Machining Browser to toggle it on/off.

14. Congratulations! You have completed this tutorial!

2½ / 3 Axis Machining Operations

Once the machining Setup is defined for your specific machining job, you can start programming 2½ and 3 Axis toolpath operations. These operations are located on the two menus of the Program tab shown below.


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Don LaCourse

Don LaCourse

Don LaCourse is an Application Engineer with MecSoft Corporation. Don brings over 20 years of experience in CAD/CAM operations in both automotive and mold design applications. Don also has extensive experience in documenting CAD/CAM products and is actively involved with writing the on-line help as well as creating training tutorials for MecSoft's products.

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