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  1. 1. The City University of New York Architectural Technology Dept. Roland MDX-540 Basic 4-Axis Set-Up: Positional Milling Dense Materials (Wood) written by Cody Pfleging and Brian Ringley
  2. 2. 2 This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Numbers 1141234. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
  3. 3. 3 Fig. 3 - Machining Objects Menu Fig. 1 - RhinoCAM Menu Introduction RhinoCAM is a plug-in for Rhino used to create toolpaths for the CNC mill. It works from the modeling environment in Rhino to create simulations of the overall milling process before actually performing any milling. It then creates NC files (G-Code) which can be read by the Roland MDX-540 for the milling process. Open RhinoCAM Operations Browser: (Fig. 2) - Toolbar Menu - RhinoCAM - Machining Operations Browser This is where you set up different machining operations and toolpaths. Open RhinoCAM Objects Browser: (Fig. 3) - Toolbar Menu - RhinoCAM - Machining Objects Browser This is where you load different tools for different machining jobs and regions/boundaries. Fig. 2 - Machining Operations Menu Roland- 4 Axis
  4. 4. 4 Roland- 4 AxisFig. 6 - Post Processor SetupFig. 5 - Machine Type Setup Fig. 4 - Machine and Post Processor Icons Step One: Machine Setup Set up the type of machine and the post processor that will be used for the milling process. In this guide, we will be using the Roland 4-Axis machine and the .nc output file. Machine Type: (Fig. 4) - Machining Operations Browser - Machine Set the Number of Axes to 4 Axis (Fig. 5). Post Processor: (Fig. 5) - Machining Operations Browser - Post Set the Current Post Processor to Roland MDX 540 by selecting it from the drop down menu (Fig. 6). If the post processor is not available, download the post processor from CNCmaching Make sure the Posted File Extension is set to .NC by selecting it from the drop down menu if it is not already set (Fig. 6).
  5. 5. Roland- 4 Axis 5 Fig. 7 - Stock Selection Step Two: Box Stock Setup Setting up your digital stock to match your physical material dimensions. Create a Box Stock: (Fig. 7) - Machining Operations Browser - Stock - Box Stock Set the location of the origin of the stock by clicking one of the corner buttons and set the dimensions of the Stock by typing in its Length, Width and Height into the text boxes (Fig. 8). NOTE: This setting corresponds to the orientation of the milling process and must be the same origin at the mill. Fig. 8 - Stock Edit Fig. 9 - Stock in Model Space
  6. 6. Roland- 4 Axis 6 Fig. 10 - CSYS Setup Step Three: CSYS Setup Setting the coordinate system for your setup. Create 3 CSYS Setups: (Fig. 10) - Machine Operation Browser - Setup - CSYS Setup After creating each CSYS Setup, specify the axis to rotate about and the degree of rotation. - CSYS Setup One: - Axis = X Axis - Spin Angle = 0 - CSYS Setup Two: - Axis = X Axis - Spin Angle = 180 - CSYS Setup Three: - Axis = X Axis - Spin Angle = 0 NOTE: Rename each CSYS Setup so that it describes its coordinate system orientation. Creating CSYS Set- ups will not automate the rotation about the X-axis when the posted file is output to the Roland. The physical rotation of the stock will be controlled by the A-Axis within the V-Panel’s Move Tool tab.
  7. 7. Roland- 4 Axis 7 Step Three (continued): Additional CSYS Setups How many CSYS Setups do I need? Explanation of CSYS Setups: CSYS Setups are used because roughing toolpaths are best done with a flat end mill that is restricted to planer motion while engaging the material. Number CSYS Setups: The geometry being milled will dictate how many CSYS Setups to use. If the geometry is asymmetrical or if the geometry has pockets and/or valleys along its surface that would be occluded or undercut from any given approach, it is a good candidate for 4 CSYS Setups dedicated to roughing. The two additional CSYS Setups will ensure that enough material has been removed from the stock to begin the finishing pass. When creating 4 roughing CSYS Setups, incrementally increase the rotation about the X-axis by 90 degrees. - CSYS Setup One: - Axis = X Axis - Spin Angle = 0 - CSYS Setup Two: - Axis = X Axis - Spin Angle = 90 - CSYS Setup Three: - Axis = X Axis - Spin Angle = 180 - CSYS Setup Four: - Axis = X Axis - Spin Angle = 270 - CSYS Setup Five (Finishing): - Axis = X Axis - Spin Angle = 0 Fig. 11 -1 Example of a Geometry Requiring 2 CSYS Setups Fig. 12 - 1 Example of a Geometry Requiring 4 CSYS Setups
  8. 8. Roland- 4 Axis 8 Fig. 13 - Toolpathing: Horizontal Roughing Step Four: Create Toolpaths Specifying and controlling your toolpath settings. First Toolpath: (Fig. 13) - select CSYS Setup One - Machine Operations Browser - 3 Axis Adv - Horizontal Roughing Second Toolpath: (Fig. 13) - select CSYS Setup Two - Machine Operations Browser - 3 Axis Adv - Horizontal Roughing Third Toolpath: (Fig. 13) - select CSYS Setup Two - Machine Operations Browser - 4 Axis - Parallel Finishing NOTE: Run a simulation and check to see that the tool holder (collet nut) is not colliding with the portion of the stock used by the chuck or tailstock for securing the stock to the rotary.
  9. 9. Roland- 4 Axis 9 Step Five: Simulate Toolpaths Confirm that toolpaths are safely producing the intended results. Run Simulations: (Fig. 14) - Select the toolpath to simulate - Machine Operation Browser - Simulate - Play Detect Collisions: (Fig. 15) Running a simulation of each of your toolpaths prior to posting is an essential part of the CNC milling process. It is very difficult for even an experienced RhinoCAM user to be confident that, based on the data entered in your toolpathing parameters, you will produce the model you intend without first running the simulations. The most important reason to run the simulation of your toolpaths is to detect potential collisions. In this image the collet has collided with the stock. The areas where the collision has occurred are shown in red. This type of collision typically occurs when a endmill with a relatively small diameter is used (1/8” or less). These smaller endmills typically have shorter tool lengths as well. As a result of this shorter tool length, the collet must move deeper into the stock in order for the endmill to reach its cutting surface. The collisions shown in the far left and right of this image are a prime examples of this type of collision. The endmill has removed material in order to get to a certain depth, but because the collet is wider, it collides with the stock. By default, your original stock is displayed in orange and, as the simulation plays out, your geometry is displayed in gray. Collisions will show themselves in red. Fig. 14 - Simulate Tab Fig. 15 - Simulation Model