3D Toolpath Creation Overview
KeyCreator \ Tools \ Machinist \ 3D-Toolpath-Creation-Overview

When using the 3D NC features available in KeyCreator, toolpaths are created using a four-step method, defined below. A toolpath is a collective that results when any one of the NC machining methods is used. It appears in the program viewport as an ordered collection of polylines representing the tool tip and/or center.  For in-depth coverage of each function within Machinist use the KeyMachinistRefManual  .

NOTE: Because a toolpath is a collective, it can be selected, moved between levels, copied and deleted using the features available from the NC submenu.


Step 1: Define the Cutting Tool

The first step requires that you define the tool or tools that you want to use for your part. When defining your tool(s), you are able to enter basic tool measurements as well as a brief description of the tool.

Use the Machinist>Path>Tools feature to define the cutting tool.

Tip: Multiple tools can be stored in what is known as a "tool list."


Step 2: Select the Geometry to be Machined

Next, you need to specify what geometry you intend to machine. During this process, you will be required to define the containment boundary, or machining zone.

Geometry is selected using the Machinist>Path>Geometry feature.

NOTE: Core parts must have a defined floor surface. Cavity parts must have runoff surfaces defined around the edge (parting line) of the cavity.


Step 3: Select a Machining Strategy

Once you have defined a machining tool and selected the part geometry, you will need to determine exactly how the part will be machined.

There are several strategies available from the Machinist>FinishMachinist>Rough and Machinist>Special submenus.

NOTE: Once a toolpath has been created, it is saved to the design file like other geometry. To save the toolpath, just save the file.


Step 4: Post-Process the Toolpath

After the toolpath has been created, you will need to select a post-processing method for your specific controller from the Machinist 3D library of post-processors. The too path is then post-processed using the appropriate machining parameters.

To create a program, you select the toolpaths in the proper order using the mouse cursor. You can also select the order of operations by toolpath name or number from the toolpath list.

Each post-processor is a separate program or file that runs within the NC 3D program. Using a definition file, you are able to customize your own post-processor.

Use the Machinist>Path>Post feature to post process a toolpath.