If you are like me, you’ve never heard of a hexapod until recently (or now), but I put two and two together to figure out that it was a machining apparatus with six legs. I did a little more research on the topic to find that I was right (every now and then that college degree comes in handy).
A hexapod is an attachment that consists of six telescoping struts and converts conventional machining centers, boring mills, gantry mills and similar machines into machines that produce parts on a single setup compared with several operations on a conventional machine.
The hexapod attachment’s struts are paired around a fixed plate at one end. They converge at the other end to support a moving plate that supports a high speed machine spindle. The telescoping struts of the hexapod machine operate simultaneously to locate and orient the spindle. Also, whereas the original design of a conventional machine tool limits the movement capabilities, the hexapod machine makes it suitable for three-, four- and five-axis machining because it allows unlimited spindle orientation.
According to these sources, programming a hexapod machine is simple and requires no postprocessor. Another advantage is that it can be a more affordable way to enjoy the advantages of more efficient machining.