Tabs Cutting in Contour Mill Operations

How does CAMWorks support Tabs cutting in Contour Mill Operations? How can the user define the critical tool path details instead of manually adding them in post processing?

When machining mill features with an intent to retain the core material with a single contour mill pass, provision must be made so that the core material is retained till the contour milling is done on the entire profile of the feature.

The solution for such an error is by using ‘tabs’. Within the purview of CNC machining, a ‘tab’ is a small piece of the stock material along the profile (feature boundary) of through mill feature which holds the core material to the stock.

Tab Settings within the CAMWorks User Interface

Within the CAMWorks user interface, the option to enable/disable the functionality is provided in the Tab Cutting group box under Contour tab of the Contour Mill operation. To enable the functionality for defining tabs, place a check in the Tab Cutting checkbox. The Settings button within this group box will be enabled only when the Tab Cutting check box is checked. Clicking on this button displays the Tab Settings dialog box.

Note that the Tabs can be applied only when the option of Bottom Finish is selected.

Sample Image of a Through Mill feature with Tabs on its Feature Periphery

Tab Settings Dialog box

The Tab Settings dialog box provides the options and controls for defining multiple tabs along the feature profile such that the core is retained with stock. The following settings can be assigned:

  • Selecting the feature for which tabs are to be generated (This is applicable only when group features or multiple mill features are machined by the Contour Mill operation)
  • Indicating whether the settings in Tab settings dialog box are to be applied to a specific feature being machined by the Contour Mill operation or to all the features being machined by the Contour Mill operation (Apply to All checkbox option)
  • The dimensions of the tab (Length and Thickness parameters)
  • Number of tabs to be generated along the feature periphery (No. of Tabs parameter)
  • Offsetting the default location of specific individual tabs along the feature periphery (Offset parameter)
  • Viewing selected tab in the graphics area (Tabs list box)
  • Deselecting specific tabs not been considered when toolpaths are generated. (Checkbox options in the Tabs list box)
  • Impose a filter on the number of tabs that can be generated along the segments/ arcs that comprise the feature periphery (Minimum Segment Length and Minimum arc radius parameters)
  • Defining the exit and entry method for the toolpath so that the tool can retract and enter into the stock material at the tab locations (Lead in/out dropdown list)
‘Tab Cutting’ group box under Contour Tab of a Contour Mill Operation
Tab Settings Dialog Box

The below video illustrates the use of the tab settings in the contour tab of the mill operations

CAMWorks 2020 provides a functionality whereby users can define tabs on the feature profile of a thorough mill feature machined using a single Contour Mill application. CAM software is available for full 3 axis milling, as well as 4 and 5 axis simultaneous movement.  CAMWorks also has turning, mill-turn, Wire EDM, and Nesting packages. It is also totally compatible with SOLIDWORKS. With SOLIDWORKS CAM one can take advantage of rules-based machining with minimal effort

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