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Along Came a Spider

Visitors to the Hermle Open House saw the production of a large version of Delcam's Boris.

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The milled and finished aluminum Boris stands about 1.6 feet high and weighs in at about 4.4 pounds.

Visitors to the 2013 Hermle Open House earlier this year were amazed to see a half-meter high Boris being “born” when, after about 20 hours of machining, the supporting residual material was removed from the legs and antennae during the final working stage.

"Boris the Spider" is the Delcam mascot and a feature of the company’s logo. Visitors to the well-attended four-day Open House, which took place at Hermle’s headquarters in Gosheim, Germany, were able to experience the creation of the giant Boris live. The model was milled on a five-axis Hermle C50U, equipped with a rotary table and Heidenhain iTNC530 control, from a 145-mm-thick aluminum disc, 700 mm in diameter.

The main challenge in the project was in machining its extremely delicate nature despite its considerable size—the finished model weighed almost four and a half pounds. “In order to prevent any deformation of the workpiece, it was necessary to avoid both any overly high cutting pressure and any excessive heat buildup,” explained Marcus Warga of Delcam, who was involved in the generation of the highly complex NC program using PowerMill.

With the high risk of collisions during the machining due to the impressive dimensions of the spider, relatively long tools were utilized with a minimum length of 250 mm. This placed particular demands on the programming.

Milling took place on a five-axis basis exclusively, both with positional (3+2) machining and continuous machining. The axis movements when finishing Boris's abdomen demonstrated how precisely the Hermle C50U can work when programmed with PowerMill.

Read more about the origins of Delcam’s spider logo in “The Story of Boris.”

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