Is it possible to create a custom cut pattern? Several of our parts require a consistent finish that we can obtain from the zig or zig zag pattern, in the cavity mill operation. The desired surface finish is to have the machining lines completely across the part. Using zig zag is the most efficient tool path motion, but we see significantly reduced tool life due to the conventional cutting that occurs during the zag. I've attached a photo of the combination cut pattern. The red are the cutting feed rate paths, and they extend beyond the part, once clear we rapid, blue line, to the other side to climb cut. Once the outer edges are trimmed we repeate cycling inward. Similar to a follow periphery cut pattern. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Are you finishing only flat surfaces?
If so, I would use face milling area or floor/wall instead of cavity milling.
It would be good to have a sample part file, since this highly depends on the shape of the part.
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I would first look at Mill Planar > Face Milling Manual. For open facing, you can turn on the grid and easily create a patern like you show using screen position picks.
Another choice is Mill Milti-Axis > Generic Motion. Here you have many options to guide the tool manually to any position or orientation.
The issue isn't creating a single instance of the desired tool path. It's setting up a template that allows my collegues to select a face and to have the desired path generated, similar to the cut path selections.
For complete automation, you can write your own cut pattern with the API - look up user defined operation or user defined drive method. Of course, this requires an application developer.
For some limited reuse, I think your best approach is to model the path, and then use point/curve drive method or planar milling with an "on" boundary and standard drive cut pattern.
I have seen users create a sketch of the path centerline they want, constrained to some edges on the model. Then they drop the sketch on a new face and adjust the constraints.