There are hundreds of ways to program a CNC machine to machine the same workpiece - and all may produce the same finished part. But, in addition to creating the cutting program, many other factors need to be resolved to be able to machine the workpiece. There are workholding questions, cutting tool questions, machining conditions as well as the machining process that will be programmed. As there are hundreds of ways to program a part, there are many different ways to resolve the above questions. We have tried to create a step by step procedure below that may assist you in creating a process to resolve the questions that need to be answered to create a CNC program.
Use It - Refine It - Grow With It !!!
Step #1 : Determine the WORKHOLDING.
As you decide on the correct workholding, many other aspects of machining such as what processes to perform first, what type of tooling to consider, and in what order the programming processes must be programmed will also come into play.
Step #2 : Layout the MACHINING PROCESS & Choose the Tooling.
After you have decided on how you will hold the workpiece as you machine it to completion, you can now determine step by step how you will machine each phase. As you layout the machining process, you can decide on what tooling will be used in that machining as well. For example - a Milling Process :
Once tooling is decided, cutting data such as speed & feed data can be gathered to suit the chosen tooling, material and workholding.
Step #1 -- Choose the PART ZERO position.
Step #2 -- Create the CNC Program
Most people find it easier to sit in a quiet room, with all the data needed at hand, visualize the machining, and write. Use the tooling list as created above and the cutting condition data as required, making any changes as they come up.
Step #5: CHECK the PROGRAM.
After the program has been entered into the machine, it is always a good idea to check your programmed path again as you read thru the program as well as check for typing errors even if the program was input through a word processor or by hand.
Step #6: Perform the MACHINE SET-UP.
The set-up involves mounting all fixturing, tooling, recording the part zero, recording all tool offsets and any other task required before machining.
Step #7: PROGRAM PROVE OUT.
There are many ways to prove
out the program before actually cutting a part. The best way is prove out
the tool path first, then the cutting conditions, not both at the same
time. This means that you should not prove out the tool path and cut material
at the same time.
Step #8: Do IT !
Once you are satisfied with the tool path and cutting conditions, let it rip. Your first program will usually not be the final product. Constant refinements are usually done to improve tool life, cycle time or finish. The majority of the product is done but you should always be looking for ways to improve the program or process.
A Couple of Hints !!
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