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Creating Subtractive Cleanup Toolpaths from Additive Toolpaths

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Creating Subtractive Cleanup Toolpaths from Additive Toolpaths

The company I work for is currently developing a 3-axis metal printing system that can also handle 3-axis milling (two separate heads sharing the same gantry). The intent is to be able to have a part printed and then machined in one operation. For tall parts, the intent was to print a section, mill it down, and print again on the milled surface leaving a near finished product in the end.


As of right now, my fellow engineers have had to stitch additive and subtractive coding into a large G-code file manually. However, I would like to see if this can be done in one pass using stock models within Powermill. I have been reviewing the additive process and it does appear to leave a rendering of a printed stock model. However, I am running into the following issues:


1. A stock model seems to require a block to initially generate from. The block for the most part is formed from the overall extents of the finished part. However, the intent was that there was no material initially until the additive process finishes. The block being established by the overall size of the finished part is causing subtractive tool paths to "remove" unnecessary material in space, as there would be no material in these areas after the additive process finishes. (In essence, I want to generate rest subtractive toolpaths based on additive toolpaths) See photo with fan blades.


2. Attempting to set rest machining of a subtractive process based on the toolpath of an additive process is producing a Powermill error of "Invalid reference for rest roughing".


3. The additive process generated by a stock model may not have any collision that can be used for generating rest subtractive operations from (I.e. for appearance only). For instance, I produced a 1 x 1 x 1 inch calibration cube that I had printed via raster. The initial block I used is exactly the size of the finished product. the rendering of the stock model shows the weld bead of the additive process extending beyond the bounds of the initial block (See photo). I attempted to perform a model rest area clearance tool path to clean up these surfaces. However, when calculating, I get the notification that it is an empty tool path (Because the block is already the correct size of the model and therefore no milling needs to be done. Only once I expand the block greater than the finished cube will subtractive toolpaths work, which defeats the purpose of printing a cube with the additive process and cleaning the edges with a subtractive (no blocks needed).


4. When attempting to simulate the additive process when having a block already existing, sometimes it gives an error as it thinks the tool runs into the block.

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