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NX – How to Use NX CAM to Determine Shortest Cutter Length

In machining, a good way to prevent chatter and excessive tool wear is to use the shortest cutter possible. In NX CAM, there are some useful options to help decide cutter length. Below are two options you can use to help with tool length selection.

NX – How to Use NX CAM to Determine Shortest Cutter Length

NX Tip of the Week – June 6, 2014

In machining, a good way to prevent chatter and excessive tool wear is to use the shortest cutter possible. In NX CAM, there are some useful options to help decide cutter length. Below are two options you can use to help with tool length selection.

Option 1 – One option to check to see if the cutter is able to reach all areas of the part being machined without the holder colliding is to use verification. This will display the toolpath in a different color highlighting the areas of the toolpath that creates a collision between the holder and the part. After displaying the colliding areas, you can decide to use a longer tool or limit the toolpath to the safe areas of the part.

See the steps below to use verification to show collision areas:

1) Once you have a tool and holder defined along with operation created, select the “Gouge and Collision Settings” in the Tool Path
Visualization dialog:

2) Select “Check for Gouges”, “Check Tool and Holder” and “Display Gouges” in the Gouge and Collision Settings dialog:

3) Press the “Play” button to verify the toolpath and notice that all of the areas that collide with the part are now displayed in red:

Option 2 – The second way to know the shortest possible cutter length is to use the “Report Shortest Tool” option. This will automatically tell you the shortest possible length of cutter needed to complete that operation without colliding with the part. Keep in mind that you do need to have a holder defined or this option will not be available.

Here are the steps to use the “Report Shortest Tool” option.

1) Right-click on the operation:

2) Select “Toolpath” and then “Report Shortest Tool”:

3) NX displays the smallest length possible for a collision-free toolpath:

Chad Varney
Application Engineer

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