Initial operation of a brand-new 5-axis machining centre. Or: How do you mill a mountain?

As an extension to our air-conditioned Ultra-Precision Manufacturing Lab, RhySearch acquired a 5-axis machining centre in the early summer of 2020 - a "Micro HD" from the company Kern Microtechnik. Now it was time to gain experience with it. To do this, we took on a very special project...

The aim was to gain as much experience as possible with the new machine and with its programming using the CAM software "hyperMILL" and the data management software "MDM".

With its 2163 m, the Margelchopf towers high above the Rhine valley. As our local mountain, the impressive peak is also a fixed point for us at RhySearch. So what could be more appropriate than to produce a model of the mountain on our new machine? Because with its many free-form surfaces, this is a very demanding workpiece with high recognition value, and thus ideally suited for our purposes.

We obtained the digital elevation model of the mountain from the Federal Office of Topography, where you can download the 3D elevation data of the whole of Switzerland. From the three-dimensional point cloud we then calculated a closed surface, which is needed for the CAM programming.

Before we could simulate the machining in the software, we also had to assemble the tools in the virtual world: in the "MDM" software, the components of the tools, such as holder, collet or insert, are assembled, and technology data for the assembled tool are stored. Then we simulated the machining on the milling machine with the help of the CAM software "hyperMILL", for example to avoid collisions between the spindle nose and the workpiece.

The next step was to transfer these preparations in the virtual world to the reality of our laboratory. Before we could start milling the workpiece, among other things, we first had to assemble the tools we needed for machining the Margelchopf and insert them into the magazine of the "Micro HD". In total, four different tools were used for this project.

The project proved to be just the right introduction to our work with the "Micro HD" from Kern Microtechnik. The team was able to familiarise itself with the machine and its programming and was able to hold an impressive workpiece in its hands at the end.

In this video we have documented the creation of "our" Margelchopf:

Are you also facing a challenging problem in the field of (ultra) precision manufacturing? Contact us, we will be happy to advise you!


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