An AliTech engineer programs toolpaths using Open Mind Technologies’ hyperMill software.
With 3,500 companies employing more than 40,000 people, the United Kingdom’s Motorsport Valley is a massive financial engine that generates $12 billion per year for the UK’s economy. The high-tech hub pushes the capabilities of manufacturing technology, especially 5-axis machining strategies needed to create complex titanium parts.
Racing parts include intricate components such as pipe inlets and outlets for pumps and compressors, impellers, blisk-rings, turbine blades, gears, and intake and exhaust engine tubes that require machining strongly undercut geometries. Titanium is an ideal material for many race parts because of its high strength and low weight; however, these properties can make it challenging to machine.
Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) programming for 5-axis machining should include strategies for steep-wall cavity, concave-, and curved-surface machining, and surface finish optimization. To keep pace with the shifting racing industry, CAM software must evolve at a similar rate.
hyperMill CAM software enables 5-axis strategies for fast, easy-to-use programming, resulting in reduced cycle times and high-quality surface finishes. The following UK Motorsports Valley case studies describe how the software supports the racing industry. Open Mind Technologies https://www.openmind-tech.com Tube machining
Machining engine ports, cylinders, and other complex bore geometries in racing components demands precision finishing. Many UK Formula 1 (F1) teams use
hyperMill’s tube machining strategy core feature. The process carves a toolpath down the center of a tube and then works outward for finish-machined operations.
For engine ports, machining the bore is not the most complex job – achieving mirror finish surfaces on curved features in deep pockets, while avoiding tool collisions, is the challenge. Some F1 teams also want undercuts at the bottom of the ports to remove excess material as every ounce of weight removed from a vehicle can improve track performance. This introduces having to remove the tools from the bore and ports without tool collisions or marking the mirror-finished bores.
Goodman Precision Engineering
Based in Milton Keynes, UK, Goodman must move quickly from titanium billets to finished parts to serve Formula 1 (F1) teams that need components for upcoming races. Owner Mark Goodman says the
hyperMill Maxx Machining Performance Package is a big part of its fast turnaround capabilities. hyperMill Maxx Machining’s strategy of 5-axis tangent plane machining is reducing some cycle times by 90%. Designed for new cutting tool geometries, it supports geometry and collision checking of conical barrel cutters, tangential barrel cutters, lens tools, and barrel tools that do not use conventional geometries. With curved geometries beyond standard ball-nosed tools, barrel tools enable greater tool stepover. Compared to a ball-nose tool with 0.008" (0.2mm) stepover capabilities, barrel tools can operate 0.118" (3mm) or more stepovers, reducing production times while improving surface finishes.
Goodman says, “
hyperMill Maxx Machining has given us massive cycle time improvements when roughing steel, titanium, and other challenging materials. The roughing and trochoidal milling cycles on hard materials are now more than 70% faster and we have improved tool life by more than 30%.”
A motorsport development engineer with more than 30 years of expertise, Goodman knows the value of quality CAM software. For fast cutting and higher speeds with larger cutting depths, Goodman uses harmonic helix solid carbide end mills. Wth the milling strategies enabled by
hyperMill Maxx Machining, the company has reduced its spindle load by up to 50%.
“Having this confidence in our tools is invaluable when we are running lights-out or when we are working under tight deadlines to get parts to the track,” Goodman says.
https://goodmanpe.co.uk AliTech Precision
The Silverstone, UK, motorsport subcontractor undertook simultaneous 5-axis machining of complex engine blocks. AliTech engineers needed to ensure CAM software programming was correct before beginning machining.
Company founder Darren Cudd says, “With our previous CAM solution, we found simulation and collision detection was not really at the level of Open Mind’s
Design to manufacture had required more than 100 design hours and another 100 or more programming hours to produce an engine block at AliTech.
hyperMill, programming times are now reduced by at least 50%, and we have complete confidence in its collision avoidance capabilities,” Cudd says.
AliTech employees also machined a billet turbo manifold that required two 1.6" (40mm) diameter oval-shaped port holes featuring a curved depth of more than 7.9" (200mm). Engineers used
hyperMill to model the work envelope and detect collision parameters for the cutting tool, toolholder, and machine spindle.
“By precisely simulating the process, we are running at high speed and the tool holder is as close as 0.01" (0.25mm) to the port walls during high-speed machining,” Cudd says.
AliTech also uses the Z-level finishing cycle in
hyperMill to tilt cutting tools at angles very close to the wall of the port holes to run short-length cutting tools in port bores. This improves stability and rigidity, generates surface finishes that permit machining at high speed and feed parameters, and improves surface finishes in port bore. Cudd and AliTech Precision rely on hyperMill to machine around corners on internal pockets of inlet manifolds, inlet port heads, and valve seats. www.alitechprecision.co.uk hyperMill’s Mill-Turn machining module supports complex operations such as crankshaft machining. Open Mind Technologies’ hyperMILL special application package for efficient tube machining that carves a toolpath down the center of a tube and then works outward for finish-machined operations, important for engine-port machining. The Mill-Turn module also supports gear machining.
To learn more about CAM advances for automotive machining, go to: