Machining Strategist

Take your machining productivity to new heights

Machining STRATEGIST is a powerful 3D CAM product that generates optimum roughing and finishing CNC toolpaths from the complex shapes generated by all major 3D modelling systems. With demands for ever-shorter lead times and improved quality, High Speed Machining (HSM) is now common place in many mold, tool and die shops both in the CAD/CAM office and on the shop-floor to machine hard materials with increased feed rates.

Installed in a CAD/CAM office or on the shop-floor, Machining STRATEGIST can take your machining capabilities to new levels and productivity to new heights.

Features at a glance:

  • Smooth motion control machining for all toolpaths
  • Tooling libraries, incorporating toolholders
  • Toolholder gouge protection
  • Drilling
  • Waveform Roughing
  • Taper cutter support
  • 3+2 axis machining
  • Rest machining, including rest roughing and transversal rest finishing
  • Flat surface machining
  • Steep/shallow machining option for all 3D toolpaths
  • Variable stock-allowance to steep and shallow areas
  • Batch processing, Multi-threading processor support
  • Calculate multiple processes simultaneously in one database


User Interface

Machining STRATEGIST has been developed to be very easy to learn and use and training is typically only one to two days in total.

On-line help

The on-line help contains comprehensive and easy to understand text and illustrations while every effort has been made to ensure that it is written in plain English. Machining STRATEGIST can export STL files, which can be particularly useful after applying fillets to a model.

Multiple Machining Strategies

The range of machining options available within Machining STRATEGIST includes: 

  • Drilling
  • Z-Level Roughing
  • Core Roughing
  • Lace Roughing
  • Adaptive Roughing
  • Waveform Roughing
  • Rest Roughing
  • Horizontal (Flat Surface) Finish Machining
  • Z-Level Waterline Machining
  • Raster (Planar) Machining
  • Radial Machining
  • Spiral Machining
  • Morph Machining
  • Along Boundary (Scribe) Machining
  • Axial Offset Machining
  • 3D Constant Offset Machining
  • 3D Corner Offset Machining
  • Pencil Milling
  • Parallel Pencil Milling
  • Transversal Rest Machining

All machining options have techniques for maintaining constant machine tool motion – an essential requirement for maintaining higher feedrates and eliminating dwelling, the single worst contributing factor to tool wear. All toolpaths in Machining STRATEGIST are created as a two-step process:

(a) Toolpath passes are generated, calculated to a particular tool and tool holder.

(b) Toolpath passes are linked with a home position, rapid moves and toolpath linking moves.

Part Analysis 

State-of-the-art graphics are used to maximize the visual aspects of Machining STRATEGIST. Once read in, imported CAD data can be viewed as wire-frame, wire-frame with hidden-line removal or fully rendered and fully rendered with surface edges drawn. Use of OPEN-GL graphics facilitates real-time dynamic rotation, zooming and panning. Machining STRATEGIST has a variety of interactive tools for analyzing the part geometry. By snapping to surface node points accurate measurements can be taken including : 

  • Dimensions
  • Lengths
  • Surface Curvature
  • Slope Angle

Any surface can be viewed at a vector normal to itself and this is particularly useful when positioning the part for 3 2-axis machining.

Fillets

A dynamic sectioning function allows for closer interrogation of cross sectional detail. This can be useful when analyzing toolpaths which might otherwise be obscured by steep wall areas or for visually viewing the difference between a remaining material stock model and the finished component.

Batch Processing

The history-tree structure within Machining STRATEGIST can be used to record a sequence of events. Rather than recording a macro in advance, the user can selectively specify exactly which machining sequences to record after the operation has been run. This allows the user to build up a selection of operations which can be used to automate other jobs.

User-definable Profiles

Within a session of Machining STRATEGIST, the operator can specify the software to retain any values which have been input / overridden. When exiting Machining STRATEGIST, the operator can then save this session as a Profile.

Roughing

Machining STRATEGIST’s roughing routines employs a number of techniques which, when combined, results in a program with the smoothest cutting motion and significantly enhanced tool life: A series of offset passes are generated at specified Z-depths and are automatically calculated to remove the maximum amount of material without leaving upstands.

Waveform Roughing

Constant Engagement With Material Although the Concentric pattern looks much simpler at the first glance the problem is that the tool “digs” into each corner causing the tool to overload, leading to reduced tool life or tool breakage. As Waveform maintains a constant engagement the feed rate can remain at the optimal value throughout the cycle. This will improve the tool life and greatly reduce the risk of tool breakage.

The Waveform Pattern To maintain a constant chip load the cycle uses the philosophy that we machine from “Stock to part”. This reduces the amount of intermittent cuts, particularly on external regions, which means the tool is engaged with the material for longer without lifting clear.

Automatic Adjustment for Tool Engagement to maintain the tool engagement and the chip load the tool path is automatically adjusted to compensate.

Smooth Tool Path By ensuring the cycle produces a smooth tangent tool path, the velocity of the machine can be maintained and the desired feed rates achieved. This also has the benefit of reducing shaking and vibration on the machine and component.

Linking the Tool Path The links within the cycle are aware of the rapid and High Feed rate settings for the machine tool. When moving to the next cut the cycle will automatically choose the fastest method to get to that point. In localized areas the tool will stay at depth, but on long moves the tool retracts and rapids to position.

Stay at Depth When the tool stays at depth the path will automatically move around the stock when required. The moves at depth can be at high Feed and allows the user to specify a small retract to stop the tool rubbing on the floor of the part.

Simple Interface We have ensured that the cycle uses the information in the part and Code Generator where possible and kept the interface to only 3 modifiers that the user can adjust for the waveform pattern. This ensures the cycle is easy to apply and is integrated into the main Roughing cycle.

Full Cut Depth Machining (High Speed Machining) Waveform Roughing greatly improves standard roughing by ensuring a constant volume of material is removed. In addition, this also opens up the way to use high speed machining, particularly for hard materials.

An example of the feed rate and depth of cut that can be achieved in hard materials, both in Metric and Imperial measurements, is listed below.

Material

SS1650 carbon Steel

6AL4V Titanium

Tool

10 mm endmill

1/2 inch endmill

Depth of Cut

20mm

3/4 inch

Stepover

10%

10%

Feed Rate

5700mm/min

50 in/min

Speed

9500 rpm

3128 rpm

Stock Models and Rest Roughing

A stock model can be created and used to reference a cutter with greater reach to re-machine areas the previous tool could not machine due to potential toolholder interference. Machining STRATEGIST can rest machine to either a 2D or 3D stock model.

Toolholder Gouge Protection

Toolholders can be specified from a standard tooling catalogue or be created according to any toolholders available in the customers shop. These can then be stored in a database, accessible over a network if required. There is no limit to the complexity of the toolholder which can be created.

Boundaries

Boundaries can play a major role in semi-finish and finish machining since it is rare that a carbide cutter can machine a complete die steel block without being replaced, so it often becomes necessary to isolate local areas to be machined. Machining STRATEGIST has a comprehensive set of boundary creation and modification tools, including: 

  • Silhouette Boundaries
  • Contact Area Boundaries
  • Shallow Boundaries
  • Theoretical Rest Area
  • Boundaries from cutter path passes
  • Freeform
  • Rectangle
  • Circle
  • From Text (True Type Fonts)

Editing Toolpath Passes

Any set of toolpath passes can be trimmed back to a boundary, or set of boundaries, created in any 3D plane. Toolpath passes can also be edited to stock models and original models. In addition, toolpath passes can also be edited to a toolholder.

Linking

Machining STRATEGIST linking options are designed to keep the cutter in continuous motion and to minimize the time the cutter spends off the job. When roughing and horizontal machining, linking moves are designed to have smoothing arcs and for the cutter to keep in contact with the part for as long as possible.

Sister Tooling

There are two methods of generating sister tooling toolpaths whereby an identical replacement tool is on-hand to replace the current tool after a period of use. The first allows the operator to force a retract every N mm.

Tooling Sheets

Machining STRATEGIST takes advantage of Internet Explorer to display tooling sheets which can be viewed as an HTML document on any suitable computer within a company’s internal network, providing a paperless means of distributing tool sheets. Tooling sheets contain comprehensive information and graphics with hyperlinks to the actual tape file itself. If printouts are required, a more simplistic tooling sheet can be produced without graphics.

Post Processors

Standard with Machining STRATEGIST, including configurations for the latest machine tool controllers. These postprocessors, if required, are easily configurable by the operator.

Photo Gallery

Product PDFs

Need more info? Check out our library of product PDFs.

Contact us to learn more about Machining Strategist

Want to learn more about this software? Contact us today to schedule a product demonstration.

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