Setting Up Mill Turn Parts in NX
NX CAM is a beneficial resource that addresses the needs of careful tool control. Along with its many benefits, you have the capability of setting up mill turn parts in NX. Learn from CAM guy Collin as he explains the process of setting up mill turn parts in NX CAM for programming purposes. In this setting up mill turn parts demonstration, you will learn the following:
- Add a part to a mill turn setup template
- Position main and sub spindle components within the mill turn template
- Create blank stock
- Position the MCS
- Define the workpiece geometry, avoidance, and containment planes
Adding a Part to a Mill Turn Setup Template
With your part file open in NX, let’s begin the process of setting up mill turn parts in NX CAM:
- Go to File > New
- Select the Manufacturing tab, then click on Mill Turn (Esstentials)
Positioning Main and Sub Spindle Components
In this example, there is a main and sub spindle. However, keep in mind that only one part is brought into the Mill Turn template within this process of setting up a mill turn part in NX.
- Add a compontent to be used on the sub spindle operations by going to Assemblies > Add Component
- Select the part from the Assembly Navigator and change the placement to Move
- Select the XC cone and click on Positive 20.0. Then, click OK.
Now that we have our part positioned, change to Geometry View on the main and sub spindle. The Mull Turn template already has a geometry structure created. This contains a hierarchy of workpieces and MCSs commonly used while programming a mill turned part.
A Mill-Turn program requires you to define at least two machine coordinate systems: one for the milling program and one for the turning program. This is required because turning programs and milling programs use machine coordinate systems differently. Turning operations typically generate the tool path in the ZN-XM plane with the ZM axis along the spindle centerline, while milling operations typically generate the tool path in the XM-YM plane.
Now, let’s specify the MCS for the sub spindle.
- From the Operation Navigator, select Geometry View > Edit MCS_SUB_SPINDLE > Select the center point of the hole
- Go to Lathe Work Plane > Specify Plane > ZM-XM > OK. This is the plane in which the turning tool paths will be created.
- Orient to a top view by using the keyboard hot key (cltr+alt+t). Alternatively, you can right click on the graphics window > Orient View > Top.
Creating a Blank Stock and Positioning the MCS
- Create a cylinder to be used as the blank stock. Go to the Geometry tab > expand the Point drop down > Cylinder
- Specify Vector > Select Y Axis
- Specify Point > XYZ(C) = 0 > OK
- Dimensions > Diameter = 4.0 > Height=6.0
- To add translucency to the cylinder, select the cylinder > View tab > Edit Object Display > Translucency = 50 > OK
Alternatively, you can select the cylinder > use the keyboard hot key (ctrl+j) to enter Edit Object Display.
Defining Geometry, Avoidance, and Containment Planes
Now that part parts are positioned and our blank is created, we can now define geometry.
- Define the MASTER_BLANK by going to the Operation Navigator > Edit MASTER_BLANK > Specify Blank > then select the cylinder created in the previous step
The blank will be inherited by both the main and sub workpieces.
- Define the WORKPIECE_MAIN by going to the Operation Navigator and selecting Geometry View > Edit WORKPIECE_MAIN > then specify the main spindle part
- Define the WORKPIECE_SUB by going to the Operation Navigator and selecting Geometry View > Edit WORKPIECE_SUB > then specify the sub spindle part
Define the sub spindle blank, where these steps will specify that the IPW will be passed from the main spindle to the sub spindle.
- Go to Edit TURNING_WORKPIECE_SUB > select Specify Blank Boundaries > Type = Workspace > Toggle on Automatic Positioning > OK > OK
Finally, we will finish the process of setting up mill turn parts in NX by defining the avoidance moves and containment planes. Avoidance moves allow the cutting tool to move safely to and from the part. Containment planes define areas the tool should avoid, protecting the chuck, jaws, or other physical objects. Avoidance moves and containment planes will need to be defined for each spindle.
- Define the AVOIDANCE_MAIN by going to Edit AVOIDANCE_MAIN > Expand From Point (FR) > Point Option = Specify > Specify Point > Coordinates: X = 1, Y = 3, Z = 0 > OK > OK
- Define the main spindle containment by going to the Home tab > Create Geometry > Geometry Subtype = Containment > Geometry = AVOIDANCE_MAIN > Ok > Axial Trim Plane 1 > Limit Option = Distance > Axial ZM/XM = -5.0 > OK
- Define the AVOIDANCE_SUB by going to Edit AVOIDANCE_SUB > Expand From Point (FR) > Point Option = Specify > Specify Point > Coordinates: X = 14.15, Y = 3, Z = 0 > OK > OK
- Define the sub spindle containment by going to the Home tab > Create Geometry > Geometry Subtype = Containment > Geometry = AVOIDANCE_SUB > OK > Axial Trim Plane 1 > Limit Option = Distance > Axial ZM/XM = 2.0 > OK
The containment plane will vary based on what material was removed from the main spindle and where you plan on chucking. In this example, the remaining material is indicated by the teal box, and I plan on chucking on the material in the magenta box.
Summary of Setting Up Mill Turn Parts in NX
The Mill Turn Part is now set up. To recap how to set up mill turn parts in NX, remember that we started by adding and positioning our part on the main and sub spindle within a mill turn template. The blank stock was then created and positioned on the main spindle, and was ready to be transferred as IPW to the sub spindle. The main and Sub MCS, workpiece geometry, avoidance, and containment planes were defined last.
If you enjoy blogs like this and would like to see more NX CAM or similar tutorials, stay tuned to see what’s up on the blog!
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Hi, I’m Collin, and I’m a CAM Engineer at Swoosh Technologies. For over 15 years, I’ve programmed various 3-, 4-, and 5-axis machine tools, as well as multi-channel mill turn machines. My experience in the manufacturing industry has given me insight and knowledge in mold making, high volume production, and process improvements.