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iMachining for NX vs volumill


Some time ago I got Volumill for testing. It worked quite well but it had its disadvantages.
This week I met with imachining sales rep and he showed me the capabilities. Just at first sight, it looks that imachinig has the edge over Volumill. What i like about it is morphing spirals that might me little bit more efficient. It also takes into considerarion tool helix angle and calculates contact points with the material to predict vibrations.

Have any of you guys ever used both for some period of time? What is your opinion on both?

I will get imachining for testing so I will share my experience later on.

Thanks in advance

Re: iMachining for NX vs volumill


Haven't used either, but as I understand it, there should be a NX release in the pipeline with very comparable features. I wouldn't be investing in a 3rd party toolpath update just now Smiley Wink




Re: iMachining for NX vs volumill

Gears Esteemed Contributor Gears Esteemed Contributor
Gears Esteemed Contributor

I might  investigate 3rd party solutions.

Whether I buy or not is another question

Ken Akerboom Sr CAx Systems Engr, Moog, Inc.
Production: NX10.0.3.5 MP16/TC11.2
I'd rather be e-steamed than e-diseaseled

Re: iMachining for NX vs volumill


I had imachining install a version on my machine last year and do a web demo. They couldnt even get it to work in the demo. The rep lashed out at me for being upset that they wasted my time. Pretty **bleep** service.


Purchased volumill the next week. Only thing I dont like about volumill is they dont have a "2d" version where you can control what it is looking at. It always looks at the full part which takes extra time on complex parts.


Dennis Rathi
Creations Unlimited

Re: iMachining for NX vs volumill

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
It depends on what you like. If you like control over your parameters Volumill is the way to go. If you want most things done automatically go with iMachining. The ony big thing I like about iMachining that I couldn't do in Volumill was when helical ramping into a part, I couldn't slow down the spindle rpm. iMachining automatically does this. Downside to iMachining, is that it doesn't allow a mixer of climb and conventional cutting paths that are useful for speeding up machine times in soft materials. I don't work at the shop that had the volumill addon anymore so I don't know if things have change since volumill V7 but there improvement highlight video didn't show the things I was looking for.

Personally, like mentioned before, I'm waiting for Siemens to release their Adaptive Milling Operation. This is a link to a forum topic I started a while back and in it is a demo of the Adaptive Milling Operation they are working on.

Re: iMachining for NX vs volumill


There is an option to reduce the engage spindel speed for ramp or helix movements. After engage move you can choose the "waiting time" to reach the spindel speed for side milling.



Production: {NX MP18}
Testing: {NX}

Re: iMachining for NX vs volumill


We've got Volumill but are looking at iMachining. The support side of Volumill sucks. Sometimes we don't get a response for close to a week after requesting help thru their support system. They seem to only have one support person and he is always somewhere doing training and so he wont respond until he gets back from that week of training.
I have noticed lately, many cases where Volumill will plunge the end mill down on top of the part. We constantly fight getting the tool paths to cut what we want and not try to cut what we don't want. Trim boundrys are hit or miss as far as Volumill always honoring them. Picking specific surfaces areas for processing also seems at times to introduce unwanted results. I have gone over these issues with Volumill support staff. Many times they instruct me to create extra "check geometry" to keep from machining an area. That's an unneccessary and time consuming step when you should just be able to use trim boundrys.
One of the people I finally got in contact with at Volumill was much more helpful in persuing the issues we were having as actual glitches or bugs in their software as opposed to always providing time consuming work arrounds.
Sometimes their software works with little extra effort, as it should. Other times we've easily spent an hour on trying to get a single toolpath to work.
We are currently in the process of evaluating iMachining and moving away from Volumill.
One of the nice features about iMachining is the way they handle "floating" licenses. We currently have 3 Volumill Network licenses and 4 users. We are constantly having to "kick someone off" which can take a couple of minutes for the license to be made available. iMachining instantly removes the license as soon as you are done editing an operation. Sounds like we will be able to get fewer licenses and have the same or better usage with iMachining.

Re: iMachining for NX vs volumill


we are also facing the same choice at the moment.
My feeling is that imachining toolpath logaritm is more advanced than volumill. It is doing channels and than drives tool with spiral toolpath. It is similar to cavity mill with trochoidal pattern and inward direction. Volumill is more similar to follow periphery pattern.
I am little bit concerned reading that it is taking up to an hour to get volumill up to work. At the moment we are using cavity mill with optimized feedrate and we like this op very much. It is reliable and quick to program. What I am missing is bottom up function. At the moment I achive that by splitting operations and machining lower levels first. It is time consuming especially with complex parts and you get lots of operations.
That was one of the reasons why we wanted to get V or iM.
We will be doing trials with both V and iM and then we will make a decision. I will try to give you feedback afterwards.
Anyone else having experience with iMachining?
Rock, before volumill what was the strategy you were using to program roughing? Have you noticed tool life increase using V vs cavity mill?

Best regards

Re: iMachining for NX vs volumill


We have used Volu-mill for a few years with good success.

Anytime we are machining steel parts we would use it for initial roughing and save loads of machining time.


We did get exceptional support for a while, but the fellow left, We haven't really needed allot of support so we haven't noticed much of a degrade.


I know they claim to have some patented technology in how they control the chip thickness to keep it exact throughout the cut pattern. .0035 thick chip is .0035 thick no matter what the point in the pattern is. The software also ask allot of questions to determine rigidity... type of holder (solid, mill chuck, shrinker)?, big plus spindle? how far is the tool in the holder?


The "new" cavity mill cut pattern, looks neat and similiar... probably should be able to adjust some feedrates by over/under driving using optimize feedrates. But there will not be allot of math or science involved. more hit or miss.

{Paul Schneider}, {CNC Programmer}, {DRT-Rochester}

Production: {NX11.0.2,MP5, NX12.0.1, MP2}

Re: iMachining for NX vs volumill


Before Volumill we were using either Cavity Mill or Planar Mill and Follow Part. Volumill is definitely an improvement over Siemens current roughing options. Trichordal is good for pockets but doesnt play well along an open edge.
Several of our issues we have sent back to Volumill and they have created beta version fixes for them. (Not yet released).
iMachining is going to give us a month to tryout their software on our parts. We are a job shop so everything we do is different. For the most part, we hardly ever machine "just a pocket". That is probably why we have had issues that others may not experience. Almost all of our stuff is more "male" type geometry than "female", machining the outsides of complex weldments and shapes. 90% of it can't be held in a vise just due to the shape of the geometry. (not counting size)
Honestly our biggest complaint is the level of support.
We are going to be doing the iMachining trial this month so I will let you know what I find out in real time. I watched a few youtube videos on comparing the two products but found them all lacking in some way or another.

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