PowerMill 5-Axis Dynamic Machine Control

February 24, 2021 Ed Gillman

Powermill has a variety of features that make programming complex 5-axis parts much easier. Dynamic Machine Control allows the user to quickly adjust the orientation of the tool axis to prevent gouges and improve the machine tool's access to the workpiece. It's all done in an intuitive visual simulation environment that's simple to learn.

Using a shorter, stubbier tool will improve the surface finish - but can create interferences with the tool holder and machine head. The toolpath shown below was created with Automatic Collision Avoidance activated. As the tool works its way down the part surface, the axis automatically adjusts to avoid collisions with the shank and holder.

PowerMill accurately rotates the table and head to create clearance between the holder and workpiece. However, as the simulation continues, a collision is detected between the machine tool head and the part. 

This is because the toolpath only checks for collisions with the shank/holder but not the entire machine head and spindle. Using PowerMill's full machine simulation helps avoid these costly mistakes and greatly improves safety on the manufacturing floor.  

With PowerMill - this is an easy fix. After activating Dynamic Machine Control, the user can select a portion of the toolpath to modify. The entire toolpath can be converted to a 3+2 strategy as well (if necessary). In this example, the lower section of the toolpath (where the collision occurred) is selected.

Then, the axis can be modified for that toolpath segment to create clearance between the head and workpiece. This is done by dynamically dragging the axis arrows to the desired position. As shown below, the A-Axis is rotated 15 degrees backwards to create space.

After making the A-axis adjustment, the toolpath regenerates and interpolates the other axis positions to create a smooth transition. The updated simulation achieves clearance between the machine head and model. With the help of Dynamic Machine Control, this complex 5-axis toolpath is safe to run!

About the Author

Ed Gillman

Manufacturing Applications Expert<br><br>Ed assesses clients' current business processes to recommend and implement software solutions to meet their needs. His software expertise includes Inventor, Inventor FEA, Nastran, Inventor HSM (CAM), Fusion 360, Fusion 360 Simulation, Fusion 360 CAM, and Generative Design.

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