How to use ZW3D CAD/CAM Software Turning Module

By: Tony S Tan

ZW3D is all-in-one CAD/CAM software that specializes in 3D CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and manufacturing). It offers integrated modules for performing mold designs, sheet metal layouts, and 2- thru 5-axis milling functions.
In particular, the turning module integrated into ZW3D 2012 permits actions such as turn drilling, facing, rough turning, finish turning, turn grooving, and threading cycles, as well as part-off. See figure 1. These functions are highly tuned to help you extend your design capabilities, and thereby increase profits.

Figure 1: Turning operations available in ZW3D 2012

To see how the turning module works, let's walk through a simple example and give you a brief demonstration of this new product.

Figure 2: Example part to be turned

1. Part Design
The first step is to design the part according to the requirements of your customers, or else to import the geometry from another design system into ZW3D's CAD module. For this tutorial, we will work with the threaded part shown in figure 2. We begin by creating and dimensioning the drawing in the Sketch module, as shown in figure 3.

Figure 3: Sketching the part to be turned

2. Turning Module
After completing the design, we right-click in the graphic area, and then select the CAM ( Plan item from the context menu, as shown in figure 4. ZW3D jumps into the CAM Plan environment for turning programming. The turning module is integrated in ZW3D's CAM Plan module, just like the milling module.

Figure 4: Copying the 2D design to the CAM Plan environment

3. Stock Creation
The obvious stock shape best used for the turning of this tutorial is a cylinder. ZW3D 2012 adds a new function named ‘Cylinder Stock' that lets us quickly create our cylinder stock directly (figure 5). Just select the 2D profile, and the smallest cylinder stock that fits the profile is created. Options are available to you to change the diameter and height of the stock, when necessary.

Figure 5: Selecting cylinder stock

Figure 6: Cylinder stock with 2D turning profile

4. Generating Operations
The process of generating turning operations is similar for all types of CNC operations. Here, we use the facing operation as our example, and thereby show the details.
1) Creating Facing Operations
Operations are created by simply clicking the Operation icon in the setup tree, and then selecting the type of operation you require from the popup menu. See figure 7.

Figure 7: Choosing the type of operation

i. Select the appropriate cutting tool from the tool library by clicking on Tool item. Notice the Tool library form that pops up (figure 8).

Figure 8: Choosing the tool

ii. Set the parameters according to your machining requirements, such as the stock and cutter information, cutter length, and machine situation. See figure 9.

Figure 9: Setting up the machining parameters

Create, and then add the new machining feature to the current operation. From the Feature toolbar, choose Profile. See figure 10.

Figure 10: Choosing Profile from the Feature toolbar

Specify the following parameters; see figure 11:
Input type = Profile
Profile = Chose the profile form the graphic area.

Figure 11: Setting the profile parameters

Add the profile feature to the operation, as shown in figure 12. Follow these steps: (1) under Operations | Facing, select Features, and then (2) choose the Profile feature.

Figure 12: Choosing Features and Profiles

iii. Calculating Tool Paths
The face of the part is recognized automatically by ZW3D, and so tool paths are created on it, as shown in figure 13.

Figure 13: Creating the tool path

2) Use the same method to create and add other strategies to the part, and then set the parameters for each operation.
i. Turn Drill Operation
The Turn Drill operation offers a number of drilling types, which you define in the Cutting Parameters menu. Examples include Center, Drill, Peck Drill, and Ream. See figures 14 and 15.

Figure 14: Setting drill parameters

Figure 15: Generating the drill path

ii. Rough Turning
While setting up rough turning, choose the correct cutting direction: OD means ZW3D will create tool paths for the outside diameter, while ID is for the inside diameter.

Figure 16: Roughing with outside diameter

Figure 17: Roughing with inside diameter

iii. Turn Groove
After finishing the Turn Rough operation, there are still several grooves to add, as shown in figure 18. These cannot be cut with a Turn Rough operation.

Figure 18: Grooves in the design

Instead, we use the Turn Groove operation with a grooving cutter to cut the allowance in these areas.

Figure 19: Setting parameters for the grooving operation

Figure 20: Simulating the grooving operation

iv. Turn Finish
The Turn Finish operation is similar to the Turn Rough one, except that it generates just one path around the part. See figure 21.

Figure 21: The finishing operation

v. Threading
The Threading operation cut threads into the stock. To add them, go to the Cutting Parameters tab, and then select the Position icon. ZW3D asks you to select a point in the drawing. As seen in figure 22, the entire straight red line is recognized as the machining area. The tool paths will be generated along this line. See figure 23.

Figure 22: Adding threading

Figure 23: Threading path generated

There are additional options for helping you create threading tool paths, such as those based on requirements of the number of spring passes and the thread direction. See figure 24.

Figure 24: Parameters for threads

vi. Part Off
The last step is to cut the part off from the stock. Using the Part Off operation, we define the Cutoff Point. Following the illustration shown in figure 25, click the Cut-Off-Point button, and then pick an end point from the part. ZW3D detects the end of the part automatically, and then calculates the tool path.

Figure 25: Locating the cutoff point

In this operation, you are able to add chamfers and fillets freely, even if the original design doesn't have them. See figure 26.

Figure 26: Adding chamfers and fillets

5. Simulation
To ensure that each tool path is correct, a solid verification function is included in ZW3D, as shown in figure 27.

Figure 27: Solid verification

6. Outputting the NC File
Finally, we output the G and M codes, and then send them to the machine tool to machine the part.

Figure 28: NC output from ZW3D

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ZW3D CAD/CAM Software Technical Engineer

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