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How to Mill with 2D Geometry in ZW3D

Milling with 2D geometry makes CNC programming simple and easy, and increases the flexibility of programming. This is especially true for parts with no surface features, and so the technique is widely used in the CNC (computer numerical control) machining industry for areas such as mechanical machining, mold base machining, and engraving.


 Let’s take a look at how ZW3D CAM software can be used to machine the plate of a mold base using just 2D geometry. In figure 1 below, I have imported a 2D drawing of a mold base plate into ZW3D.


 Follow along with me by going to the CAM level, and then I will show you how to use 2D drawings to create tool paths directly.



Figure1:2D drawing imported into ZW3D


1) Hole Making

First, I’d like to drill the holes. Before creating the drilling tool path, I have to define the hole feature. So, in the CAM manager I used the Add Feature function and then define the hole feature. See figure 2.


Figure 2: Defining the hole feature


In the filter, I set up a diameter range to 0-50, and an angle range to 360-360.  After I click OK, the hole feature table pops up, as shown in figure 3. In this table, I assign the necessary attributes, such as the hole depth, counter bore diameter and depth, and the thread size. In this case, I assign a group of 12mm circles with the counter bore attribute, and then assign them all the  20mm  thread attribute.


Figure 3: Assigning hole attributes in the Hole Feature table


When I am done defining hole features, they ae displayed under the part, as shown in figure 4: 


Figure 4:Hole features and hole tactics



I single-click on Tactic (see figure 4), and a hole making tactic is created. Next, I add “hole 1” to the feature option of the Hole tactic. After ZW3D makes its calculations, the corresponding  toolpath is created, as illustrated below in figure 5:


Figure 5:Tool path for making holes



2.  Cutting Other Features

Besides the hole features, there are other features that need to be cut, such as the pockets, slots, and steps. Let me show you how I programmed the cutting of these features. I used the same process: first, I defined the features, and then I create the tool path.

 Here is the exact sequence of  steps I used:

 a) Cutting the Step Features 

I define the step feature as shown in figure 6.


Figure 6: Defining the step feature



After the definition is set, I select Spiral Cut to create tool path. See figure 7.


Figure 7:Tool path for cutting the step feature


b. Cutting the Pocket Features 

 I define different pockets in the same feature table, as shown by figures 8 through 10.


Figure 8: Defining rectangular pocket  features


Figure 9: Defining round pocket features by using the same table



Figure 10: Defining square pocket features, again using the same table



Once again, I select the Spiral Cut function create the tool path, as shown in the following figure:


 Figure 11: The tool path for cutting pockets


c. Cutting Letters

The base has text in it, and so I use the Profile Operation to cut the letters. I define them as profile features, as shown by figure 12:


Figure 12: Defining the letters as a profile feature


Next, I select the profile operation, and then set up the parameters, as shown by figure 13:


Figure 13: Parametersetup for cutting letters


As always, I follow this up by using the Spiral Cut function to create the corresponding toolpath. Finally, I get a toolpath like the one pictured below in figure 14:


Figure 14:Toolpath forcutting letters


The ZWSOFT name is made from double lines. I definethe double-lined letters as profile features, as shown in the following figure:


Figure 15:  Defining the double-lined letters(ZWSOFT) as aprofile feature


I chose the Spiral Cut function, and then define the parameters, as follows:


Figure 16: Parametersetup for cutting double-linedletters


Finally, I have ZW3D calculate the tool path. It turns out like the picture shown below:


Figure 17:Toolpath forcutting double-linedletters


The following is the verification result:


 Figure 18:Verification result