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Integrating custom sensors or tools to optimize for milling sheet materials?
Hello, I am researching the possibility of using a Fanuc R-2000IB with splindle and robodk in place of a 5 axis cnc mill for large scale light duty milling and my research has lead me to believe that I can achieve acceptable tolerances for most of what I want to do however I want to do some very basic 2D sheet machining and I believe that this is where the robot arm is going to struggle in comparison to a 3 axis mill as I need to be able to mill a 4'x8' sheet cutting into the material leaving ~0.5mm material on the bottom in some places and I think that realistically the arm would probably cut through this at some point across the sheet.

So I have been thinking about what would be possible to optimize specifically for milling flat materials and ideally I would like to just use some kind of sensor such as a depth camera or one of the many leveling sensors used in 3D printers or CNC machines to get a very accurate image of the sheet before milling or even in real time if possible. A secondary option that I am considering is just having the robot arm move a basic plunge router type tool across the surface of the material and so the robot is essentially not really in control of the Z axis of the machining operation but would need a way to integrate this mechanism into the CAM side. I am essentially wondering if robodk has any tools that would make integrating these on the software side possible? 

Have you considered calibrating your robot?

You could improve accuracy to 0.2-0.5 mm if you have a measurement system such as a laser tracker. Robot accuracy after calibration can depend on your setup and the size of the part. Calibrating your TCP properly is also very important.

Using a leveling sensor may be a good idea but you would have to make sure you level the robot with reference to sheet metal areas you haven't already cut.

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