Download VoluMill for your CAM system.
Documentation for the following VoluMill products is available here:
The VoluMill licensing guide tells you how to obtain and activate licenses for your VoluMill products.
Planning and machining your first pocket.
Program a pocket with VoluMill using the same parameters you would normally use for a given
material on a given machine tool with a given cutting tool, and cut the pocket on the machine.
You will likely experience a longer cycle time, due to the longer VoluMill toolpath. But if you
listen as the part machines – there should be a constant pitch throughout, since the tool never
gets overloaded – and keep an eye on the spindle-load meter, you will notice that the pocket cut
far more easily than with a standard toolpath; you should recognize that you have lots of extra headroom.
Establishing your settings and parameters.
From here, begin increasing one or more of the four primary milling parameters (spindle speed,
feedrate, axial depth of cut, and radial depth of cut [stepover]). If there were multiple slices
in your original toolpath, you may wish to start by increasing the axial depth of cut while leaving
the other parameters unchanged; this will significantly reduce your cycle time. If you had
originally cut to full depth in a single pass, try increasing the stepover, which will also
reduce toolpath length, thereby reducing cycle time. If the material you are cutting allows
it, you need not be concerned with stepping over by more than 50% of the tool diameter. Inherent
in the toolpath algorithm is the ability to stepover up to a distance equal to the diameter of
the flat of the tool without leaving uncut stands of material behind. (This is accomplished without
the need for additional motion in the toolpath corners. You will see that the toolpath actually
contains no sharp corners). Increase the spindle speed and/or feedrate. Increasing the feedrate
without increasing the spindle speed will of course increase the chip thickness, but you may be
surprised at how much heavier a cut you can take with this toolpath. You may also be pleasantly
surprised to learn that you might easily exceed the cutting tool manufacturer-recommended SFM values.
Fine-tuning and optimizing the performance.
You can adjust these parameters in any order you wish; you will likely end up adjusting more than one,
or even all of them in some combination. By keeping an open ear (to the sounds emanating from the machine),
an open eye (on the spindle-load meter), and even feeling the reduced vibrations from the machine, you
should be able to easily arrive at a combination of machining parameters that result in
significantly reduced cycle times. Essentially, however fast, deep, and wide you can cut along the
straight edge of a block of a given material, should be how fast you can cut that material while
machining a part. Once dialed in, you should also notice reduced tool wear, further reducing your
costs. Yes, with VoluMill, it is very possible to reduce cycle times while extending tool life.