Preparing ribs and slots for NC programming

We frequently finish ribs using a form milling cutter, or else we prerough them. These geometries cannot be immediately identified in a complex component, and first need to be processed using a time-consuming procedure. Can this be simplified?

Yes. Beginning with Version 3.5 Release 8, a concept for rib and slot machining has been integrated in the software; in this procedure, CAD and CAM functions interact seamlessly. Slots can now be machined very efficiently. In the first step, a powerful analysis and processing function (SLOT) automatically identifies areas that are suited for rib and slot machining. You can then create the corresponding toolpaths using the MSLOT function, which has been specifically designed for machining ribs and slots.

Here's how you do it


Select the SURFEXT/SLOT function.


The SLOT PREPARATION dialog opens.


In the "Automatically assign component surfaces" area, specify the criteria for identifying a slot.


Click "Execute calculation." The system analyzes the surfaces of the components, divides them into individual categories such as ground and flanks, and assigns them colors accordingly. If the system is unable to automatically identify all surfaces, you have two options: You can change the criteria and repeat the analysis, or you can manually select the missing flanks. Here we will manually select the missing flanks. a. Click MANU. b. Activate the "Flanks" field and select the missing flank surfaces in the view window.


Now click this button to create slot tracks on the basis of the identified elements. A slot track is defined as a continuous composite surface that can be machined in a single process.


In the "Elements" field, select a surface that has been identified as an element of a slot during the analysis. Using the selected element as the basis, the system identifies all elements than can be combined into one slot track.


Click this button to create another slot track, if necessary.


Click this button to create center curves. Using the center curves, you can create a path layout that is optimally adapted for the geometry; it will then be used to very quickly remove the material. The SLOT CENTER CURVES dialog opens.


If cover surfaces are present, you should utilize them in the machining. The upper middle curves are not projected on a plane but rather on these elements. This prevents unnecessary movements in the air. Select the "To cover surface" option in the selection list and the relevant elements in the "Cover surface" field.


Confirm your inputs. The center curves are generated. The SLOT PREPARATION dialog opens.


Click OK to save the slot tracks. The CONFIRM MODIFICATIONS dialog opens. Select the elements to be saved.


Confirm your inputs. By default, the system stores every slot track and its center curves on a separate layer. The great advantage here is that the elements can be optimally used in the automatic element selection during subsequent NC programming.

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