Mold Machining


This example will help you create a simple 3 axis machining project in RoboDK using the Mastercam plugin. In this example a Motoman robot with a cutting tool is simulated and programmed to machine a simple mold using the robot as a 3-axis machine. You will learn how to transform a CNC program into a robot simulation and a robot program.

With the RoboDK plug-in for Mastercam you can quickly set up robot machining projects direclty from Mastercam to RoboDK. This plug-in allows you to program more than 50 different robot manufacturers and 500 robots directly from Mastercam.

The RoboDK plug-in for Mastercam supports NCI (native preprocessed Mastercam files) and standard APT CLS and G-code files. The plug-in is free if you have purchased a RoboDK license.

3-Axis Mold Robot Machining

To start the project, you will first have to select RoboDK’s 3-axis mold machining example in the default library.

RoboDK settings

This example uses the Motoman GP180 robot, a cutting tool mounted on a spindle and a table to hold the part in place.

Load the station:

1.Select FileExample 3 Axis Mold Machining - Image 1 Open

2.Locate the 3-axis mold machining example from RoboDK’s examples section:  
C:/RoboDK/Examples/ Plugin-Mastercam-3-Axis-Mold-Machining.rdk.

Example 3 Axis Mold Machining - Image 2

Now that you have loaded the station you can open Mastercam and load the project from C:/RoboDK/Other/Plugin-Mastercam/Examples/Mold.mcam.

Machining toolpath in Mastercam

Open your 3D object in Mastercam and launch the cutting simulation. In this example, the 3D object is a mold metal piece with an already created cutting path using Mastercam tools.

To simplify this example, the number of passes required to machine that part has been greatly reduced. In reality, you would have a lot more lines or cutting path in the mold that you wouldn’t be able to really see the tool in action.

Example 3 Axis Mold Machining - Image 3

The Mastercam cutting simulation shows you every movement the tool needs to do during the program.

Follow the next steps to load your part into RoboDK:

1.Select the RoboDK tab and select RoboDK – Robot setup.

2.Select Load Part.

Example 3 Axis Mold Machining - Image 4


You should see the part loaded on the active reference frame (Machining Reference) on the table of the RoboDK station.

The next step is to import the cutting path from Mastercam to RoboDK.

1.Select the RoboDK tab in Mastercam.

2.Select RoboDK – Update selected operations.

3.Go to RoboDK.

Robot Machining in RoboDK

Once the robot machining path has been imported in RoboDK you should see the robot machining toolpath attached to the mold reference of your RoboDK station. In Example 3 Axis Mold Machining - Image 5 Mold Settings, make sure that you select the correct robot, reference frame and tool.

You can also adjust the value of the approach and retract movements before and after the cutting path. A 100 mm should be fine in this example. If there is a risk of collisions, you can increase those as much as you want inside the robot working range.

The next step is to verify if the order in which the path sections will be executed is correct by selecting Example 3 Axis Mold Machining - Image 6Mold Settings Update Simulate. In this example it is not necessary to readjust the order.

Example 3 Axis Mold Machining - Image 8

Follow these steps to adjust the tool orientation:

1.Double click on the Example 3 Axis Mold Machining - Image 9 Mold Settings.

2.Select Show preferred tool path. Some ghost tools will appear as shown in the image below. Those represent the position of your tool along the path.

3.Modify the rotz (0) value by scrolling your wheel up until 90 degrees. You will see the rotz value changing and the ghost tolls position changing with it.

4.Select Update ➔ Simulate.

Example 3 Axis Mold Machining - Image 10

To generate your robot program, make sure to use the right post processor. Double click on the Example 3 Axis Mold Machining - Image 11 Motoman GP180 robot and click on Select Post Processor Motoman.

Finally, right click on Example 3 Axis Mold Machining - Image 12 Mold Generate robot program or press F6.

The Motoman JBI file is now ready to be transferred to your robot controller.

Example 3 Axis Mold Machining - Image 13