Version Offers Fast Programming

FeatureCAM’s high degree of automation already offers fast programming, but a range of enhancements in the 2010 version will make the software even quicker. Most important of these developments is support for multi-threading when generating 3D tool paths.

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FeatureCAM’s high degree of automation already offers fast programming, but a range of enhancements in the 2010 version will make the software even quicker. Most important of these developments is support for multi-threading when generating 3D tool paths. This allows calculations to be spread across multiple cores in dual- or quad-core computers. Average time savings are around 25 percent on a dual-core PC, the company says.

Improved algorithms have been introduced within the user interface to speed up the editing of features and to reduce the time needed to switch between machine tool setups. More efficient handling of stock models reduce the memory required.

Also offered is combined drilling and milling functionality that will allow more efficient hole creation on machines fitted with automatic tool changing. It generates roughing and finishing tool paths to produce any holes for which the appropriate drill is not loaded, using the existing tooling within the machine’s crib. The new option is much faster than having to change the tooling available to match the set of hole sizes in each job, especially for companies manufacturing prototypes or short-run components. In addition, the number of different tools that need to be stocked can be reduced, and it will be much simpler to move jobs between different machine tools. Companies that do not have automatic tool changing on their machines can also benefit. In some cases, it will be possible to use a combination of drilling and milling with a single cutter to generate all the holes in the part. This could then allow the complete sequence to be run without the machine needing to be manned.

Other new options include a new spiral finishing option that gives faster machining and improved surface finish with no dwell marks, and automatic rest roughing to minimize air cutting when applying a series of progressively smaller roughing cutters. In addition, a 3D chamfer can be added to a part, even when this is not shown in the model, for deburring and similar clean-up operations.