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  1. #1
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    Default 5 axis aircraft parts

    I've been lurking on here since 2012, when I started doing research into buying a 5 axis machining center, and I only recently decided to start posting. I got the o.k. to post some pics with a few limitations, I can't say what company I work for, or who any of our customers are. I thought some people on here might be interested in this type of work,and I'd like to share ideas about 5 axis machining strategies, work holding and software.

    As you can see from the pictures, the Haas VF2-TR that I've been using isn't quite big enough for the parts we make. It's pretty common not to be able to use the toolchanger. I'm going to a meeting with a machine tool salesman next Monday, so we've started the process of choosing a new machine. I would be very interested to know what sort of 5 axis machines other people are using, what kind of work they do ,and what kind of machine they would buy between $150000 and $300,000. I'm also switching software, to NX, or Hypermill.

    Since I'm posting machining pics on the internet, I know somebody is going to tell me how badly I suck, and how I don't know shit. I'm expecting this, and probably won't respond.

    A little bit about the pics, the largest part is made from a 16.1 x 16.1 x 2 block of 7050. I weighed the block for grins, it was 54 lbs before machining,and about 1 lb finished. If you are familiar with the VF2, you will notice the stock size is exactly the size of the Y travel. I just had to post a pic of this, since I see people post about the size part that will fit in a VF2-TR all the time. One guy usually says " about the size of a grapefruit" I will admit to a large amount of fucking around to get it to fit. Notice that the riser block that I made is not centered on the trunnion. I had to locate the trunnion in the center of the Y travel within about .01. I wanted to use a .625 cutter to swarf around the outside sutface, but ended up using a .500 cutter to avoid an overtravel alarm.

    The rest of the pics are just some random 5 axis pics, except the part that has two bores inline across the frame. That is my next project, if anyone has an idea how to very accurately locate the holes on the outer surface, I'm listening. I can't even say how many ideas I've gotten from this website.

    I thought it might be a good idea to start a 5 axis thread with some pics, any information you are willing to share about fixtures, software, machining technique, or 5 axis machine tools would be greatly appreciated.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails frame-install.jpg   frame-angle.jpg   frame-inspection.jpg   frame-machine.jpg   frame-block.jpg  


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    Quote Originally Posted by TRussell View Post
    Since I'm posting machining pics on the internet, I know somebody is going to tell me how badly I suck, and how I don't know shit. I'm expecting this, and probably won't respond.
    Nah, that's usually if you put a video up on YouTube. Everyone is the best machinist on YouTube.

    Quote Originally Posted by TRussell View Post
    I would be very interested to know what sort of 5 axis machines other people are using, what kind of work they do ,and what kind of machine they would buy between $150000 and $300,000.
    We have an Okuma Genos M560V with a Koma TR160 5 axis trunnion, we're a job shop and don't really use simultaneous 5axis, mostly 3+2 stuff.

    If we were to buy an actual 5axis machine, in that price range I'd love to have the new Genos m460 5axis they just came out with. I believe it starts at $290k

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    If 5 axis aluminum aero parts are your focus you might consider looking into machines focused toward that market. Place I retired from was doing some larger landing gear parts on a 5 axis general purpose machine. ~13 hour cycle time. Switched to an aluminum specific machine (high RPM, big HP and fast motion control)and the cycle time came down to 4 hours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    If 5 axis aluminum aero parts are your focus you might consider looking into machines focused toward that market. Place I retired from was doing some larger landing gear parts on a 5 axis general purpose machine. ~13 hour cycle time. Switched to an aluminum specific machine (high RPM, big HP and fast motion control)and the cycle time came down to 4 hours.
    Yeah, we do almost exclusively aluminum, I think I've made one steel part with that machine. I've had my eye on the Okuma that Mtndew mentioned. Do you have any machines in mind? I think the budget might stretch a little for the right machine.

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    Depending on how much your price can stretch, Grob looks pretty interesting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TRussell View Post
    .....Do you have any machines in mind? I think the budget might stretch a little for the right machine.
    Well, that shop typically went high end on machinery. Every good 5 axis we had was Makino or Yasda. We had one other 5 axis. It went down the road as it was a major disappointment in comparison.

    I've not worked on or used any of the newer Okumas like some of the other posters have mentioned. The older Okumas that I worked on were super machines. The OSP control was superb from an operator and programmer standpoint. Not as reliable as the big F, but pretty close. That may be different with the newer OSP controls, but again no personal experience with the new stuff.

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    It won't fit that large a part, but if most of your work is smaller, Matsuura's MX330 and MX550 are very solidly priced, and they are available with very attractively priced pallet changers. I've heard the MX330PT10 with 90 tools, a 20k spindle, probing, and the 10 pallet changer is ~$350k. If your work fits inside the envelope, that is a productivity beast of the highest order, and I think the pallet changer can be field retrofitted, so you could grow into it. The MX550 would fit that big workpiece you mentioned, but it'll be more expensive and the pallet changer is only 4 positions.

    IDK why, but I don't see Matsuura getting a lot of mentions in 5 axis threads. I know if I was trying to be productive in a 5 axis environment, that pallet changer setup would be very very hard to not want to pay a premium for.

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    In that price range you could slip into an Okuma Genos or a Doosan DNM(4+1)series and gain some significant rigidity over the Haas. Limiting factors at that price are naturally going to be work envelope and max spindle RPM. We are mostly 3+2 stuff as well and what I always want more of is RPM. The 20K+ spindles get spendy very quickly. Look at the Doosan FM series if you want higher speeds and precision. The DMG Mori DMU series are serious machines but you would probably have to look at used/demo models to fit the budget.

    We cut everything from plastics to super alloys with the majority of our work being SST and Ti, for sub-sea and aerospace parts & assemblies.

    Expect a very steep learning curve going to NX cam if you are coming from something like Gibbs or Master. It's very powerful software that'll do anything ya need, but damn it's got a lot going on. You'll want a full time programmer on it.

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    OKK VCX-350 or 500 may get close to your upper limit, but is likely a little above.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TRussell View Post

    One guy usually says " about the size of a grapefruit"
    That was me that made the grapefruit comment. Certainly much larger parts can utilize the other two axes, but not with their full rotational extent.

    That said, your work is impressive!

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    What are your typical tolerances?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TRussell View Post
    I would be very interested to know what sort of 5 axis machines other people are using, what kind of work they do ,and what kind of machine they would buy between $150000 and $300,000.

    I thought it might be a good idea to start a 5 axis thread with some pics, any information you are willing to share about fixtures, software, machining technique, or 5 axis machine tools would be greatly appreciated.
    Okuma has the new GENOS M460-5AX

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    Bryan's Rule for Understanding 5-axis Size - make a model of the machine, make a model of the part, try it out. Solidworks + mates works well, but frankly scaled cardboard and foam core would too.

    You may be surprized - usually 5-axis envelope is smaller than 3-axis (in the same machine) but their exist cases where this isn't true (5-axis pet tricks) - but it looks like you are on to the "creative arrangements" approach.

    My *perception* from arm chair study (owning only 1 5-axis machine) is that "native 5-axis" machines have better space/clearence/utilization than 3-axis machines with trunnions bolted on. (Something like a DMU-65 is a "native" 5-axis, the trunnion is the table, not bolted onto something.)

    Oh, $300K might get you into the DMG range - though read up about them before going down that road.

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    Another point - the part shown in starting post does not seem to be a very 'aggressively 5-axis' part....

    And it seems to me that what I'll call "narrow angle 5-axis" either is or was common in aerospace - that the big need is for pockets with angled walls, profiles at steep angles, holes at relatively small angles to vertical, and so forth. (Or for OP's part - to profile the exterior as an angled surface in say 1 pass rather than emulating it with ball mill and then having to polish off the milling marks.)

    IF and ONLY IF your parts are like that - consider the class of machine with AB head, but of limited range. (e.g. A machine that is say +-30°A and +-30°B angle range.) Not sure who makes them anymore, haven't seen any listed or advertised for a while.

    The need to go "full over" and drill holes around the edge (for example) ups what you need from the machine.

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    Have you looked at the UMC750? If you are happy with your Haas now, the UMC might be a fit. Then again, if you do have a 300k budget it would be well worthwhile to look at a better machine... Also like Busted said, switching to NX will suck unless you have some experience or one of your guys does.

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    How about a Hurco VMX series 5 axis? Some versions have a swivel spindle head with an integrated rotary table C axis- a circular platter on the table rotates on the vertical axis. The smallest in diameter is 600mm -might be perfect for your application and well within budget. Seems like a great setup for job shop "sometimes" 5 axis work because you don't have to pull a large trunnion on and off the table. Dmg used to have a setup like this (DMU 60T) but I don't believe the have that style of 5 axis machine anymore.

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    I'd buy a Chisel and a Hammer (full 5 BTW) before buying a Hurco.

    R

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    If its ribs like that your manly planning to do are not some of the router like gantry set-ups a better fit than the typical trunion like VMC style machines? Certainly would give you more bed space for parts and if you could load it up and leave it running lights out possibly some not insignificant labour saving too? Have not seen any videos yet of people running more than one part at a time on a trunion style 5 axis machine. Have a machine the spindle can nod and rotate and you could run a lot of that kinda part unattended between simply flipping it over from one side to the other which you clearly had to do any rate. Just a thought and like most machine ideas, it really depends on just what the rest of the parts you want to do on it are like as to it being a good or great fit to the final production cell set-up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    .....switching to NX will suck unless you have some experience or one of your guys does.
    There is a good learning curve with NX. Had one programmer that was really dragging his heels when we switched. First month to 6 weeks was pretty constantly griping about how he would be done programming already if he was still using MasterCam. Fast forward about 3 months. Now the tune became "man I can't ever imagine going back to MasterCam. I'd never be able to do this in MasterCam.".

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    Quote Originally Posted by litlerob1 View Post
    I'd buy a Chisel and a Hammer (full 5 BTW) before buying a Hurco.

    R
    Care to share why not? I have a 3 axis Hurco and it rips through aluminum. At the price point the VMX42 has a huge,flexible work envelope. Also, the OP is looking for a replacement to a Haas, not a Matsuura.


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