To maximize the depth and complexity of the parts that could be created, the Gilman Hot Sprints, CA-based Golden Era upgraded to Delcam’s PowerMILL 5-axis CNC programming software and a 5-axis CNC router from DMS. The software and router make it possible to produce pieces as big as 10 feet by 5 feet by 48 inches in a single setup, including complex, highly detailed 3D surfaces.
“With PowerMILL we are able to make things that in the past we would have had to carve by hand or in a multitude of laborious steps,” says Ron Sommerville, sets chief. And what once took the company days to complete, “now takes only hours with PowerMILL,” he adds.
“This capability has helped our creative process take a huge leap forward....As an added bonus, complex tool paths are made user-friendly and simple to do, which makes programming a breeze.”
For the sculpture, Sommerville imported a 3D CAD model into PowerMILL and created workplanes. Next he used PowerMILL’s model area clearance roughing milling strategy to remove the bulk of the material. The PowerMILL software automatically generated the toolpath.
Sommerville then used the 3D offset finishing strategy, which he says delivers an excellent surface finish because the step-over is varied to give a constant cusp height, both on steep surfaces and shallow contoured areas.
Sommerville then issued the command to generate the toolpaths and G-Code needed to machine the part on the DMS router. “PowerMILL’s collision avoidance feature automatically avoids hitting the workpiece while traversing,” he says.
The sculpture is typical of the range of 2D and 3D parts produced by Golden Era. “With our software expertise we have the ability to design anything,” Sommerville adds. “With PowerMILL we can make a physical representation of anything we can imagine.”
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