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FeatureCAM Ultimate supports 5-axis milling and the SWISS type machines.

Collision Avoidance function in the FeatureCAM allows to create safe, collision-free tool paths and to make visualisation of machining in order to verify its correctness.

FeatureCAM provides simulation options, such as the view of a central line, 2D and 3D simulations, fast and positioning movements, comparing of workpieces and full testing of a risk of collisions with machine elements.

FeatureCAM makes it possible to generate a tool path with automatic recognition and avoidance of clamps and holders. To determine a body as a clamp or a holder, you only need to choose a command “Use solid as a clamp”. The software provides the possibility to enter the minimum distance to the clamp.

The Feature Recognition function is a module that allows for automatic recognition of features in solid models and automatic generation of the machining processes It also enables conversion of a solid model edges to curves or to draw out a curve from the rotary profile. Feature Recognition in its standard version offers the possibility to import such file formats as:

  • SolidWorks (3D models natively
  • Inventor (3D models natively)
  • Solid Edge (3D models natively)
  • Parasolid
  • IGES
  • ACIS
  • DXF
  • DWG

All FeatureCAM functionalities assist to speed up programming of parts, thus increasing the output. The function of feature Recognition automates the whole process, delivering efficient solution from importing a CAD model up to a ready-made part manufactured using the CNC machine.

2.5D milling is the basic function in FeatureCAM. It contains the whole power and operating comfort, which make a part of each FeatureCAM product: advanced 2.5D milling, milling indexed in relation to 4 axes, indexed 4th rotary axis or engraving. It allows to read-in IGES / DXF / DWG formats. In addition, it enables optimization of a feed and advanced verification of 3D (solid) simulation. It allows introduction of modifications of created features by tilting walls, chamfering edges or inserting roundings. All, using flat finger tools tipped with a sphere and torus tools. Additionally, it is possible to create templates of linear, circular, rectangular operations or operations in indicated points.

Advantages:

  • Import of standard industrial formats, such as, e.g. IGES, DWG and DXF – easy communication with customers
  • Fast and easy creation of reliable tool paths, thanks to using step-by-step wizards – time saving
  • Connection of individual subprograms into the programs intended for many workpieces – minimization of programming times
  • Support for series machining for both vertical and horizontal machines – allows for machining many parts under one setting
  • Large subprocessor library, to speed up starting of the work on a machine tool

2.5 D Milling function enables creation of the following features:

  • Holes – straight, counterbored, spotter, stepped drilled, straight tapped, stepped tapped
  • Pockets – unlimited number of pockets with variable depth
  • Grooves – engraving, inner, outer, on XY plane
  • Islands – unlimited number of islands with variable height
  • Thread milling – inner and outer threads

Available milling and drilling operations:

  • Compensation of tool points for roughing and finishing tools
  • Several rough diameters and several finishing diameters for faster completion of a feature
  • Leaving machining allowance on a bottom, intended for after-machining
  • Semi-finishing machining
  • Multiple machining of regions with limitation for in-air machine cutting
  • Several roughing tools (from big to small) for faster machine cutting of large volume of material
  • Holders defined by a user
  • Optimization of tool changing and minimization of quick movements
  • Tool life management
  • Setting machining tolerances
  • External / own drilling and milling macros
  • Division of programs into stages
  • Toolpath options (variety)
  • Trachoidal toolpath for straight gaps and grooves
  • In-cut milling and out-cut milling
  • Entry into a workpiece material – spot drilling, helical, zig-zag
  • Spot drilling
  • Drilling of holes – pilot
  • Approximation of toolpaths by curves and by straight sections
  • Multiple passes for better surface quality
  • Compensation of finishing tool point
  • Estimation of machining time – operations and total time
  • Work in metric and inch systems – metric and inch dimension tools

2.5D Milling is in common use in production of parts, which, generally speaking, are prismatic. Good example here are the automotive or aircraft parts, in which pockets or profiles have vertical walls or feature the uniform shapes of the curve (generating) wall in the entire profile. Parts may contain many different holes, e.g., drilled, counterbored, tapped, reamed, etc.

2-axis Turning function allows for quick and easy programming of all types of turned parts.

This function in the FeatureCAM allows fully utilize capabilities of the centre lathes for faster and more effective production. Powerful, yet easy to use module, contains the FeatureRECOGNITION to speed up programming through automatic selection of appropriate tools and settings based on a geometry of workpieces. Elements can be designed quickly and intuitively or imported from other CAD systems. Tool paths are fully associable with the elements, in case any of their features is changed, relating G-codes will be automatically adjusted to such feature. FeatureCAM has large library of standardized threads, both metric and inch ones, which facilitate programming. Lathe operations are programmed in such a way as to eliminate the possibility of damaging already machined surfaces. FeatureCAM allows to fully use the unchanging machining cycles, thus reducing the program size and providing the shortest possible machining time.

The Turning function first of all includes:

  • Holes – straight, counterbored, spotter, stepped drilled, straight tapped, stepped tapped – possible for programming in constant cycles
  • Turning of outer profiles based on a 2D curve
  • Boring of inner profiles based on a 2D curve
  • Grooving based on a 2D curve or on a wizard
  • Face planning based on a wizard
  • Cutting-off based on a wizard with the possibility to program the capturing
  • Turning of inner/outer threads based on a wizard or any thread contour defined by a 2D curve
  • Operating of a rod feeder/collector
  • Operating of a counter spindle with the possibility to program different capture types

The Wire Electrical Discharge Machining function in FeatureCAM facilitates programming of 2- and 4-axis wire-cut EDM machines. Machining can be generated basing on solids or on 2D curves. Material base allows for automatic control of the selection of machining parameters. In addition, in the Wire Electrical Discharge Machining module, there is a possibility to chose from different types of entering wire into the machined material. Different machining strategies are also available, e.g. allowing for cutting with bridging, and then complete cutting-off of a material. Basing on a workpiece geometry, the Electrical discharge machining module automatically chooses all applicable settings. It is suitable for all types of wire-cut EDM machines. The function will reduce programming times and facilitate quick production of high quality parts.

FeatureCAM with the Wire Electrical Discharge Machining function enables the following operations:

  • Machining of pockets
  • Machining of bosses
  • Machining of open recesses
  • Machining with constant wire inclination

Typical applications of the FeatureCAM include manufacturing of gears, elements of hydraulic systems or precision valve parts.

Advantages:

  • Automatic selection of operations for different cutting strategies
  • It has the database of cutting conditions that contains the EDM generator settings, washing settings and tool compensation
  • It is delivered with checked post-processors for the leading machines in the market, including such brands as Agie-Charmilles, Fanuc, Mitsubishi and Sodick
  • It contains full range of functions necessary for creation of parts, including dies, stamps and sides
  • Reduction of programming time due to full personalization based on the user’s templates
  • Avoiding to break wire, and consequential standstills, through automatic selection of appropriate machining parameters
  • Reduction of the machine start up time thanks to the proven post-processors for WEDM machines, including Agie-Charmilles, Fanuc, Mitsubishi and Sodick

3-axis Milling is a complete solution for 2D and 3D machining, allowing to manufacture even the most complicated parts. It ensures enormous possibilities and flexibility. This function contains milling strategies based on those from Autodesk PowerMill, including Vortex – the technology allowing to shorten the cutting time and simultaneously minimize the spindle load amplitude to improve the tools service life.

3-axis Milling includes the full functionality of 2.5D Milling module and Feature Recognition and additionally the unique functionality for 3D surface modeling. This module allows for automatic recognition and milling of free 3D surfaces (rough machining, semi-finishing and finishing) with automatic selection of optimal tools (spherical cutters). This module includes many advanced strategies which support traditional machining and high speeds.

Advantages:

  • Extremely fast removal of unnecessary metal, faster production of parts
  • Permanent load of a tool increases the tool life
  • Minimization of sudden cutting direction alterations prevents tools and parts from being damaged
  • Producing parts with excellent surface quality and consequently, elimination of manual finishing

Typical Applications

  • simple tools – molds, stamps and dies
  • machining of castings

3-axis milling natively loads 3D models in the following formats: Inventor, SolidWorks, SolidEdge, Parasolid, ACIS and 2D DXF/DWG.

This function is in common use in many sectors. Starting from production of injection moulds or heat moulding, through production of parts and the sub-assemblies for production of parts and prototypes. Many aircraft or automotive parts require precise machining of many free surfaces.

3+2 Milling allows for smooth machining in 3 axes from different sides and in one chucking. Application of 5-axis indexed (3+2) Milling allows to increase productivity and to limit the machining time. It decreases or eliminates the need for multiple positioning of a workpiece for its full machining.

Advantages:

  • Ability for smooth 2.5D machining through automatic calculation of the required number of revolutions and transformation of coordinate systems in order to correctly run the machining process.
  • Full support for vertical and horizontal machining centres.
  • Creation of NC code maintaining one coordinate system or creation of a new system for each surface to be processed.
  • Support for full 5-side machining.

When you have a 5-axis machining centre with indexing axes, you have the possibility to perform machining of a part in smooth 3 axis in one chucking.

3+2 Milling first of all means:

  • simplification of machining of deep cavities and cores,
  • use of shorter milling cutters, simplifying and improving the surface finish,
  • decreasing a number of settings, which allows to save time and money, eliminating at the same time the setting errors,
  • easy access to the regions of undercuts.

FeatureCAM combines an advanced tool to carry out demanding and advanced milling in 5 axes with a simple, intuitive and user-friendly environment, coherent with other modules of the program. Speeds up creation of a tool path, ensuring at the same time full control over the machining and the tool path under preparation.

Turning with milling allows to create the machining for parts which require both turning and milling in one chucking.

Turning with milling is a module which allows to operate mill-turn machines, it combines the abilities of the Turning and 2.5D Milling modules, enabling to create turnery parts with milled elements. This function allows to control C and Y axes, generate milling operations on both the main spindle and on the counter spindle, to generate NC code with polar interlacing and without it. Milling operations can be performed with tools oriented in Z axis and in X axis. Turning with milling also offers the possibility for turning operations with rotary tools (turn milling), particularly effective in machining of elements made from hard materials and the elements, the profile of which is not continuous.

Turning with milling enables:

  • creating of turning operations listed in the Turning module,
  • creating of milling operations listed in the 2.5D Milling module,
  • performing milling operations on face surface and on the rotary surface of a machined workpiece,
  • winding 2D features on a rotary surface,
  • operating C axis and Y axis for both the operations performed on main spindle and the counter spindle,
  • supporting polar interpolation.

Advantages:

  • supporting multi-spindle machines with C and Y axes and with driven tools allows to machine more complicated parts,
  • simple programming of drilling and milling features on a workpiece element face or side surfaces thanks to the wizard of features, in order to speed up the machining,
  • It contains all the abilities of 2.5D Milling module, including holes, pockets, sides and patterns.

Typical Applications:

  • complex boring tools for petroleum industry,
  • engine crankshafts.

FeatureCAM software allows to tune the heavy-duty SWISS type automatic lathes Dedicated strategies of the SWISS provide many options for production and optimization of machining time, for both simple and complicated parts, taking into account abilities of the machine, available tooling as well as the production volumes.

Key stages of the programming of parts include:

Programming of parts – configuring machining functions, such as turning, rotary planing and milling of cylinders in separate 2D planes This enables to divide the working of a part into the series of several more simple operations.

Creation of a Process Table – generating of the Process Table from the programmed tool paths. Its modification allows to synchronize processes, which are carried out on separate spindles or by other tooling vices. This contributes to the increase of output and productivity of a CNC machine.

Simulation of toolpaths – possibility to view 3D processes shown in the Process Table. This allows identification of any errors before machining of parts.

Creation of NC Program – generating of NC program for a specified machine using appropriate postprocessor.

The software also allows to:

  • Import information from files created in other programs.
  • Export information to files, which can be used by other programs.

Advanced Turning with Milling allows to create parts, which require both turning and milling in one chucking.

Advanced Turning with Milling is a module allowing to operate mill-turn machines. It combines the abilities of Turning module and 2.5D Milling module. It allows to produce turnery parts with milled elements This function allows to control C and Y axes, generate milling operations on both the main spindle and on the counter spindle, to generate NC code with polar interlacing and without it. Milling operations can be performed with tools oriented in Z axis and in X axis. Turning with milling also offers the possibility for turning operations with rotary tools (turn milling), particularly effective in machining elements made from hard materials and the elements, the profile of which is not continuous.

Advantages of the advanced turning with milling:

  • the multiple heads operation technology allows to speed up production, due to the applied processes of parallel machining,
  • synchronization and optimization of turning with milling operations between two heads, thanks to the easily operated graphic interfaces of “drag and drop” type,
  • ability of capturing operation for the other spindle in FeatureCAM, due to the defined operations on the features,
  • continuous turning on B axis in FeatureCAM allows to create several tool orientations in one chucking and quick creation of complex machining operations,
  • interchange between milling on C axis and milling on Y axis, in order to correct the quality of already machined surface by means of one pushbutton.

5-axis milling allows for continuous and indexed control over machining in 5 axes, offering wide range of machining strategies which allow to program a multi-axis machine. Powerful tool to avoid collisions and to protect grooves ensures, that if any part of a tool or a holder interferes with a machined workpiece, the tool axis is set automatically. Smoothness of motion and elimination of a tool vibrations allows to effectively produce parts and to provide its best quality.

5-axis milling allows to produce complex elements, using shorter tools, reducing vibrations and improving the surface finish quality. FeatureCAM supports both the 5-axis machine positioning and the continuous machining, which includes drilling in 5 axes, trimming and machining with the mill side.

This module allows for smooth machining in 5 axes, supporting the machining by side edge of a mill, profiling and contouring. It allows for full utilization of the possessed machine abilities, with simultaneous limitation of errors resulting from multiple mounting and repositioning of a workpiece.

Benefits from continuous 5-axis machining in the FeatureCAM:

  • possibility to machine complex parts, thanks to wide range of the offered strategies,
  • production of high quality parts thanks to avoiding collisions and smooth movements of a tool,
  • using any type of geometry to describe a tool to achieve more flexibility,
  • providing full control of undercuts in order to assure reliability of production,
  • machining of all types of 3D models, including STL models,
  • automatic control of a tool cutting edge,
  • full control of the orientation of a tool axis allowing to guide the tool vertically (2), constant (vector for copy.), sliding and tilting and much more,
  • automatic recognition of holes,
  • additional level of tool axis control making it possible to tilt the tool axis to avoid collision of a holder or undercuts in the machined workpiece; simultaneous use of shorter tools for more stable and precise machining.

FeatureCAM combines in itself an advanced tool to carry out demanding and advanced 5-axis machining and milling with the easy, intuitive and user-friendly environment, coherent with other modules of the program. It speeds up creation of a tool path, ensuring at the same time full control over the machining and the tool path under preparation. This is an excellent support For 5-axis milling machines and mill-turn machines.

More about FeatureCAM functions in individual versions here ⇒