Delcam launches the 2014 release of FeatureCAM feature-based CAM software. The release includes a number of new options for turning, four-axis rotary machining and turn-mill operations. Other enhancements in this release include more strategies for two-axis finishing and easier programming of probing sequences.
FeatureCAM was the world’s first feature-based programming software when it was launched in 1995. Constant development since then has ensured that the system has retained its leadership in programming speed and ease of use, while an increased range of strategies has been added to provide more efficient toolpaths giving greater productivity on a wider range of machines.
The first improvement to turning in FeatureCAM 2014 gives the ability to add fillets to any sharp corners, for example, for automatic deburring, without having to edit the geometry. The user simply has to specify the radius to be applied and all the sharp corners will be filleted automatically. Similar functionality for automated chamfering of corners has been available in FeatureCAM for several years.
Turning simulation has been made more realistic with the ability to program and simulate the movements of the steady-rest that can be used to position large parts during turning and the tailstock that can be used to hold long parts on centre during machining. Collision detection against both these types of accessory is undertaken automatically during both cutting and transfer operations.
Programming of both turn-mill and four-axis equipment has been made much easier with the ability to change the index axis part-way through programming. Previously, all aspects of the part, including features, geometry and curves, would have to be moved if a change in the index axis was required. Now, this can be achieved simply by creating a new user coordinate system and using that as the new index axis.
An improvement to the FeatureCAM interface will make it easier to use a curve to define start points and plunge points for both turning and milling. Users can now pick these curves by clicking on them, instead of having to type the name of the curve.
The ability to incorporate probing routines into machining programs was added in FeatureCAM 2013 to make it easier to undertake unsupervised production operations by allowing automated checks to be carried out before, during and after machining. Programming of these operations has been made easier and quicker with the new ability to incorporate decision-making with built-in options in the software, instead of having to hand-write toolpath edit commands. For example, it is now easier to include a re-machining command if the probing results show that more material needs to be removed from the part.
Finally, a number of extra strategies and options have been added for two-axis finishing. These include the ability to use larger stepovers with automatic machining of any upstands that may be left, continuous spiral machining either from outside to inside or inside to outside, support for stock models created from roughing toolpaths, and automatic avoidance of clamps.
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