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New Tool Path for an Old Problem

You are given a simple 2D part to program. 


Most machinists can use any old CAM system to knock out a quick program, but if you multiply the problem by nesting 136 parts with 4 variations suddenly the job gets tougher. Now it might take you a day to program these parts.  You must be concerned about gouging the neighboring part. Since the nest is not a perfect pattern you have to program nearly every part.


If you have to knife and fork you way through these challenges you are not gaining a competitive edge. 


The way we think must evolve. 


This example will show how we can use QuickMill, a state-of-the-art high speed milling technology, to program traditional 2D parts in the world of 3D.


This plate contains 136 parts. Not all of them are the same.  Traditionally you would program the open pocket and the outside contour of each part, one at a time until you had all 136 parts programmed. You would need to be careful not to run the cutter into the neighboring part, so you would have to manually choose the entry and exit point on each profile and pocket.


How many times have you wished that there was a way to tell the software “just cut all the parts on the screen and by the way, don’t gouge any?” 


By using QuickMill’s advanced 3D tool path in a non-conventional way we can accomplish just that. QuickMill has been used for years to cut mold cores/cavities and complex automotive, medical and aerospace parts and tooling, so this approach is definitely “out-the-box” thinking. 


ZW3D’s QuickMill can do all the open pockets in one operation and all the outside contours in a second operation. You don’t have to select or draw 2D geometry to program this plate of nested parts.


ZW3D’s QuickMill makes this easy by allowing users to creating a single solid feature from all of the parts.  A simple toggle tells QuickMill to ignore holes, so you don’t have to create surfaces to cover them or edit your models to prevent the end mill from cutting into those areas.


QuickMill ZLevel is perfect for clearing out these open pockets.  ZLevel can not only do the vertical side walls in a traditional way it can also do the open pocket in the same operation.  ZLevel finds the sidewalls and the floor of the pocket generate the tool path that runs a flat end mill in each pocket.  Since it is aware of all of the parts, it knows not to gouge and it finds the most efficient cutting order.  No profiles to define or draw we simply tell QM Pencil cut to cut the solid.


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ZW3D is all-in-one, affordable CAD/CAM which enables concept to finished product design in an integrated, collaborative environment. The proprietary Overdrive™ kernel delivers 3D part and assembly modeling, 2D production drawings, reverse engineering, motion simulation, mold design and integrated CNC machining, simplifying the design process from concept to completion.Experience ZW3D 2011, where the only limit is your imagination. Please go to to download a free 30-day trial today.