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Tech Tuesday: 4 Axis Milling
Posted by Steven Soehl on 20 July 2021 07:48 PM

Tech Tuesday is a weekly blog that addresses some of the most common questions and concerns that I hear throughout the previous week from users of BobCAD’s CNC software. Both customers and future customers are more than welcome to leave a comment on what they would like to see covered for the following Tech Tuesday.


CAM software that helps job shop manufacture and program 4 axis jobs faster.

Ask yourself what can I program in 30 mins or less?

Keep reading this week’s Tech Tuesday to learn about 4 Axis tips that shave off programming time, cycle time or both!

Top 4 axis CAM software features that simply speed things up.

#1 – Probing

Speed things up by using a probe. If you’re machine has this option, use it! Incorporating probing cycles as part of your before, during or after cutting is one of the fastest ways to increase shop production. Touch off tools, pickup workoffsets, or inspect part features, use CAM software to program probing cycles adds simulation for visually checking probe motion, but also enables geometry selection to drive your probing cycles.

Mill 4 Axis Probing


#2 – Avoid Fixture Geometry

Fixture definitions go further than just simulation, use your fixture geometry as avoidance surfaces to eliminate unwanted toolpath creation. Program shorter cycle times by automatically avoiding fixtures when creating 3D toolpath.

Use fixture geometry in Mill 4 axis as avoidance surfaces to eliminate unwanted toolpath creation


#3 – Better Target Material

Use operation stock to define 3D boundaries for most of the mill professional toolpath operations. Create and select a 3D model as your stock or choose an STL exported from simulation. Operation stock is used to limit toolpath, allowing users to define “in 3D” what stock material to target during roughing, semi finishing or finishing operations.

BobCAD-CAM's 4 Axis Milling allows users to define “in 3D” what stock material to target during roughing, semi finishing or finishing operations


#4 – Cross Drilling

This 4 axis specific drilling operation uses the center of rotation to as an intersection limit to automate hole selection. Select your workpiece and let BobCAD find and program the holes on centerline. This drilling feature really speeds up 4 axis drilling.

The drilling feature found in BobCAD-CAM's  speeds up 4 Axis drilling


#5 Indexing

Clock your workpiece to “Align your Z axis” using index systems. Select reference geometry or pick a UCS (user coordinate system ) as the index location. Machining features child to an index system are normal to that index system. Allowing users to define one index position, and load multiple machining operations without having to define the index position for each and every operation.

Milling 4 Axis Indexing


#6 Wrapping Groups

Fast programming for profiles, pockets, holes, text features found on a diameter. Wrapping groups use axis substitution to “covert” standard 2 and 3 axis machining features to 4 axis code. Insert a wrapping group in the CAM tree and define the desired wrapped diameter.

Wrapping groups use axis substitution to “covert” standard 2 and 3 axis machining features to 4 axis code


#7 Toolpath Patterns

Make copies of your toolpath using toolpath patterns. Allowing users to program a machining feature(s) and make a pattern for the rest. Using BobCAD’s 3D rotate toolpath patterns users can make copies of their toolpath in multiple locations based on their pattern input. Toolpath patterns are limited to a single work offset, it’s the fast way to duplicate machining features.

BobCAD 4 Axis Milling Allows you to make copies of your toolpath using toolpath patterns


#8 Hole Recognition

Find and machine holes faster using Hole Recognition and the knowledge base that drive decision making for tools, settings, and operations. Drill Holes even faster but defining index systems in multiple locations, Hole Recognition will find and program hole features for every index system. This also works for multiple work offsets.

Find and machine holes faster using Hole Recognition

You bolted on a 4th Axis to your CNC mill to speed up production, yet why aren’t using it as much as you thought you would? Before you purchased your 4th axis, you were likely thinking of one or more production bottle necks.

Reduce part handling

Using my 4th axis, I can reduce setups. Instead of having to move the part around , I could use my 4th axis and index the part to position.

Produce more parts in a single setup

Using my 4th axis, I can build a custom fixture to hold more parts at a single time. Not only am I reducing part handing, I can program more parts at a time.

Using any one or combination of the features above will allow you to reduce part handling, reduce programming time and increase part processing.
Learn how to use the above features and much more with BobCAD’s live weekly training events. Click here for our training events schedule. Sign up and skill up with BobCAD!
Try BobCAD-CAM V33 today!

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5 Axis Indexing | CAD-CAM Quick Tip Video [With Part File]
Posted by Mike Downss on 06 May 2019 04:26 PM
Setting up and programming 5 Axis Index Systems doesn’t have to be complicated. This quick tip video demonstrates how our...  [Read More]
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4 Axis Indexing, Wrapping and Rotary Q & A
Posted by Nick Erickson on 14 June 2017 10:51 AM
Get answers to all of the important questions about 4 axis indexing, wrapping and rotary with BobCAD-CAM software for CNC milling.     Subscribe to BobCAD-CAM's CNC Software Blog Join your fellow manufacturers! Get BobCAD-CAM’s latest CAD-CAM articles straight to your inbox. Enter your email below: No thanks, I want to try BobCAD-CAM's CNC software...  [Read More]
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