By Ryan Navarro
In CAMWorks there are two methods to machining tapered 2.5 axis features, and each comes with a different approach and advantages.
The first method is to specify a taper angle in CAMWorks (or have CAMWorks automatically detect it), which will allow the toolpath to conform to the tapered shape of the feature. The resulting toolpath is similar to a 3 axis Z-level toolpath, which is a very powerful feature considering it is provided in the 2.5 Axis module. This allows you to machine tapered features without special tapered tools.
“Tapered” Checkbox enabled in CAMWorks, cut using a Flat End Mill
A common workflow for this method would be to rough with a Flat End Mill and finish with a Bull Nose (“Hog Nose”) End Mill. Fine surface finishes can be achieved by reducing the axial stepdown amounts or Depth of Cut, at the expense of an increased cycle time. An example of this toolpath is shown on the tapered pocket pictured above. Notice how the toolpath conforms to the tapered pocket shape.
The second method to machine a tapered feature in CAMWorks 2.5 axis is to use a Tapered Endmill. This can provide the fastest cycle times but requires a tool that matches the feature’s taper angle.
“Tapered” Checkbox disabled in CAMWorks, cut using a Tapered Endmill
An example of this method is pictured above on a tapered pocket. Notice how the toolpath remains straight vertically. This is desired when using a Tapered Endmill, and is achieved by ensuring the “Tapered” checkbox for that feature in CAMWorks is cleared, and no taper angle is specified. Care must be taken to define the feature and any islands by the appropriate set of edges.
Examples for the setup of both of these tapered feature methods can be found in our companion YouTube videos, which show defining 2.5 Axis Tapered Pockets using each method: